Chicago, IL (and currently LA) based Pelican are one of the rising stars in the field of instrumental rock music (and probably one of the few bands who have a hamburger named after them). The band also shares its member with another (and a very different sounding) outfit called Tusk.
Pelican debuted with a self-titled EP in 2001, followed by a 2003 full-length “Australasia”. According to the band’s guitarist Trevor de Brauw the album’s sessions had to be rushed due to budget restrictions, but the album still received plenty of positive press.
All Music Guide pointed out that “Australasia will likely please most aficionados of Hydra Head’s growing roster of “instru-metal” talents, as well as that subset of indie/post-rock listeners who are interested in metal/hardcore music but tend to dislike the vocals.”
Ground and Sky website commented that its tough to enjoy the record due to “the band’s refusal to stray from a very particular sound.” G&S concluded that is a solidly enjoyable effort, but one overshadowed by the EPs that bookend it.”
Pelican followed its debut with a number of splits, an EP (2005 “March Into The Sea”) and “The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw” LP (which also came out in 2005). According to the band’s guitarist, the title of their second full-length was meant to confuse people and originally it was called “Black Doom On Tuesday.”
The album ended up on many of best-of lists by the end of 2005 – Decibel Magazine chosen it as one of top 5 albums of the year, while Terrorizer magazine ranked it #35. Blabbermouth commented that “”The music of The Fire in our Throats… not only conjures visions of earth’s explosive creation, but also the blending of pristine beauty with nature’s unforgiving wrath. It’s powerful stuff.” and regarding its heaviness, added, “The one constant here is compositional excellence. Make no mistake though, The Fire in our Throats… is a heavy rock album. The band just paints with more colors and uses a bigger canvas on this one.””
The following years brought more material, including 2007 “City Of Echoes” and the band’s latest effort (as of 2009) – “What We All Come To Need”. The band also produced splits with fellow acts like Young Widows and These Arms Are Snakes.
Pitchfork gave “City” a rating of 4 stars out 10 and commented that “ (Larry) Herweg’s drumming and complete oblivion to feel doesn’t allow Pelican the range to be the exciting, dynamic band that’s capable of the structural complexity they’re interested in here. This makes City of Echoes static and, often, boring. ” However, they also pointed out that “ignoring the rhythm section and its side effects, though, this is the best Pelican album yet, largely because de Brauw and Schroeder-Lebec are only getting better in tandem, increasingly comfortable as complementary foils.”
AMG commented that 2009 “What We All Come To Need” is “a new step for Pelican, one that takes what they do best and turns it on its head without giving it up at all.” Further on, they added that “this is still insanely large-sounding music, and is heavy in the extreme, but its new tenets give listeners more to hold on — and perhaps dream on — than simply low-tuned, ponderous riffing.
Outside of Pelican, drummer Larry Herweg also played with Lair Of The Minotaur (which also included members of 7000 Dying Rats and Sheephead). Trevor De Brauw plays with Teith – a band that also includes Josh Grubman and Lisa Shelley and produced an EP entitled “Oak City” for Migration Media label.
– Chicago restaurant Kuma’s Corner is serving Pelican Burger, which was named after the band. Some other items on the menu include Pig Destroyer, Hate Beak, Iron Maiden, Slayer and Metallica (see it here).
Laurent Lebec (Tusk)
Australasia CD / 2XLP / 2X12″ (Hydra Head, 2003 / Interloper, 2006 / Daymare, 2007)
Untitled CD / 12″ (Hydra Head, 2003 / Cock Of The Rock, 2003)
Live In Chicago 6/11/03 DVD (Hydra Head, 2005)
March Into The Sea CD / 12″ (Hydra Head, 2006 / Hawthorne Street, 2008)
Pelican / Mono Split LP (Temporary Residence Limited + Hydra Head, 2005)
Pelican / Playing Enemy Split 7″ (Hawthorne Street, 2006)
The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw CD / 2XLP (Hydra Head, 2006 / Daymare, 2007 / Viva Hate, 2008)
City Of Echoes CD / LP (Hydra Head, 2007 / Daymare, 2007)
Pink Mammoth 10″ (Hydra Head, 2007)
After The Ceiling Cracked DVD (Hydra Head, 2008)
Pelican / These Arms Are Snakes Split CD / 10″ (Hydra Head, 2008)
Ephemeral CD / 12″ (Migratiom Media, 2009)
Pelican / Young Widows Split 7″ (Temporary Residence Limited, 2009)
What We All Come To Need CD / 2XCD / CD + DVD (Southern Lord, 2009 / Daymare, 2009)
Pelican – Selected Compilation Tracks:
“gw” on The Champions Of Sound 2003 (Hydra Head, 2003)
“Ran Amber” on Invaders (Kemado, 2006)
“Aurora Borealis” on Sweet Fifteen – Rough Trade Publishing 1991 to 2006 (Rough Trade, 2006)
“Winds With Limbs” on Champions Of Sound 2008 (Hydra Head, 2009)
“Embedding The Moss” on Resurrection (Southern Lord, 2009)
Tusk / Hewhocorrupts Split 7″ (Hewhocorrupts Inc., 2001)
Get Ready CD / LP (Hewhocorrupts, 2002 / 2005 / Interloper, 2006)
Tree Of No Return CD / LP (Interloper, 2004 / Tortuga, 2004 / Daymare, 2004)
The Resisting Dreamer CD / LP (Tortuga, 2007)