My interest in Alyra was aroused a month or two back after watching them gig at Dr Wu's. Although an exact recollection of the night's events was hindered somewhat by having quaffed several tankards of ale I do seem to remember enjoying the mixture of emo-tinged breakdowns, sweeping post-rock atmospherics and violins - yes, violins - that Alyra proffered forth that night. But anyway, reviewers shouldn't harp on at great length about their booze-fuelled antics, it's the band we're writing about here chaps, and "Principles of Geology" is the second release from Alyra, an EP apparently based around whales, the homeless and the discovery of the Earth's crust. Get in.
"Ligeria" is the opening gambit here, a bit of a "traditional" post-rock opener if you will - gentle chiming arpeggios that aren't in a rush to get anywhere but instead concentrate on developing atmospherics rather than dynamics. All well and pleasant enough, it's a good start but at the same time you feel yourself waiting for everything to suddenly kick it... which doesn't happen. A good way it start proceedings though with the song reminding me of Aphex Twin and Sigur Ros in places.
Elsewhere on the CD "Vehicle" shows Alyra's heavier leanings with some Deftones-esque guitar work that steps the tempo up a bit and shows that the quartet can do the whole quiet/heavy dynamic structure with gusto. My favourite on the CD is probably "In case of loss" which sounds like At The Drive In having a head-to-head with Incubus with some full-on-screaming thrown in for good measure; it's well-constructed, interesting and hopefully indicative of the manner in which Alyra are going to progress in the future.
My only real beef with this demo is that in places the band seem to veer off on random "prog-rock" tangents that get a tad dull - maybe a bit more quality control is needed in this respect. However, overall the CD is a fine piece of ambitious post-rock intrigue, and is worth checking out.