Sometimes it’s possible to learn a lot about a band by their name and the song titles that they choose. So figuring out The Potomac Accord, with song titles like “A Quiet White Cut By the Longest Blue Shadows” and “Some Kind of Farewell Forever,” seems almost too easy. The band name could have been plucked from any online Emo Band Name Generator, and the artwork bears all the hallmarks of any information-shy post-rock group.
For all the world it might look like some sad, generic emo/post-rock crossover, but appearances only tell a small part of the story. Imagine Radiohead’s “Pyramid Song” stretched to double its length and re-imagined as a post-rock song, and you’re part of the way there.
The Potomac Accord manage to twist a number of post-rock clichés by using piano as a lead instrument; somehow those louds and quiets don’t seem so predictable. When they do haul the guitars out on the closing “Newly Fallen Century,” it comes as a revelation that the band are no mere one-trick ponies, and to hear the whole thing detonate as the song closes in on the ten-minute mark is an unexpected thrill.
As unabashedly dramatic and occasionally pretentious as the unholy mixture of emo and post-rock that first impressions would suggest (check “The Empty Road“ ‘s French interlude for proof of the second accusation), The Potomac Accord sound like a band who know that there are several steps between quiet and loud, and it’s a relief to hear that middle ground being explored. And if pretension is the worst thing The Potomac Accord can be accused of on the strength of this album, it probably means they’ve got a lot of other things right.
Written by Damian McVeigh.