My Education has mastered cinematic expressionism. Whereas in 2010 the Austinites masterfully scored F.W. Murnau's 1927 silent classic Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, sixth LP A Drink for All My Friends flips the script, providing its own sense of suspenseful grandeur. "A Drink for ..." sets the scene, Sarah Norris' vibraphone falling like raindrops atop a bed of strings, before "... All My Friends" starts its slow ascent, an elegiac march of heavy post-rock giving way to Chris Hackstie's pedal steel aurora and full-blown orchestration. Think Dirty Three composing a screen adaptation of Pink Floyd's Animals. For 46 minutes, My Education doesn't so much crest as wade, moving with pulsing circularity, onward and upward, as in the bombastic German prog of "Roboter-Höhlenbewohner." It's sophisticated space rock, purposeful and carefully considered, as if written with the eventual laser show in mind. "Black Box" offers the remarkable exception, scrambling radio transmissions from pilots in an eerie descent into darkness. While not as conceptually complete as Sunrise, A Drink for All My Friends remains a significant feat, one certainly worth raising a glass to.
Copyright © 2013 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.