I bought Do Make Say Think’s fifth album, You, You’re a History in Rust, kind of on a whim back in 2011, and it made me sad that I didn’t get into them before they broke up. Although, I am still doing a lot of catching up as a result of being like 15 years late to the Post-Rock party. C’est la vie.
You, You’re a History in Rust was released on February 12, 2007 in Europe, and two weeks later worldwide. The rhythmic intensity of tracks like “Bound to Be That Way,” “The Universe!” and “Executioner Blues,” is what keeps me coming back to this album. Do Make Say Think have a way with starting a song with a relatively simple idea and building and expanding upon that idea throughout the duration of the song. They keep things exciting with ever-changing dynamics, instrumentation, and counter-melodies.
The subdued opening of the first song”Bound To Be That Way,” feels very sparse and unsettled, leaving the listener wondering where the album is going to go. The syncopated guitar arpeggio that forms the basis for the song comes out of nowhere, and then the band comes in, alternating between loud hits and soft grooves. Different instruments come in layers over the spastic 6/8 in the drums.
“The Universe!” falls into a category of songs I call “steering wheel punchers.” I have been abusing my car’s steering wheel on my drive to work while listening to this album a lot lately. I’m very sorry, car. It helps to imagine that I am punching Nazis. “Herstory of Glory”is the most groovy 11/8 I’ve ever heard. I love a song in a weird meter that doesn’t feel lopsided.
I’ve mentioned all of the odd-numbered tracks on the album, which are the heavier songs. The even-numbered tracks are more mellow and folky. “A With Living,” is the first track on a Do Make Say Think album to feature vocals. “A Tender History in Rust,” is one of my favorite songs on the record, and is mostly finger-picking acoustic guitar driven, but has other instruments like violin, mandolin, and banjo, swirling around it. “You, You’re Awesome,” wins the award for best song title and has a very country vibe between the rhythmic bar chords and slide guitar. The notes that the lead guitarist chooses (a lot of 7ths and 9ths) give away that this is a post-rock band and not a country band. The last song, “In Mind,” is the only other song on the album with lyrics. And it doesn’t say anything in the liner notes about a banjo but there is definitely a banjo.
This album pretty much has all of the things I like – it is heavy and intense at times, and it is folky AF at other times. You, You’re a History in Rust was one of the first Post-Rock albums I got into, and I do recommend it as a jumping-on point if you’re not super familiar with the genre. Also, Mogwai, Sigur Rós, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s first albums all came out in 1997, which means I will probably be writing about those later this year too, so check those out!
Songs from You, You’re a History in Rust you should listen to: