ALBUM REVIEW: Divide and Dissolve – Systemic – Invada Records



The duo of Divide and Dissolve are passionate about their beliefs. The question we shall explore here is does that equate to effectively making memorable music?  Many musicians have strong beliefs that they feel drives their passion to create and having a conviction about those beliefs is admirable. 


In fact that conviction is more important than the actual belief. The science of both magic and religion work off theories such as the “lust of result” or “faith healing” and make a case for it’s not what you believe, but how you believe in it. When it comes to music the question becomes can that passion translate to writing good songs, and not does it empower a sound. Songs live forever, sounds are just the tools they are built with. With the right producer on the job, sound is easily achieved by pressing the right buttons and licking the proper plug-ins, songs are stories that are told, something that requires more foresight. 


On Divide and Dissolve’s Systemic (Invada Records) makes doom-tinged post-rock that recalls Pink Floyd’s 1969 album Ummagumma (EMI), an ironic twist to find the roots of their sound originating from a region famous for being colonists. But such is the sneaky manner of colonisation and the lasting imprint it leaves that 54 years ago some British lads experimenting with drugs would make music that would go on to influence people of all races over five decades later. 


Of course, Pink Floyd were also numbered among the upper-tier of songwriters capable of making subversive social statements. They also possessed the power to extend this message by infecting the airwaves with it, so that both the band and the houses of government were singing for the teachers to leave those kids alone. 


“Wait!” you say. “This is not a review of Pink Floyd, but the Divide and Dissolve album”: to know what something is, you must know what something is not. All things are relative, music included. 


The reverb-drenched drone of the first three songs creates a wash of sound that feels like it could all be one long song with ‘Blood Quantum’ setting the stage after the ambient opening track. It is not until the tempo-changing shift into chaos brought with ‘Simulacra’ that things change. Sure, cool sounds are created, but they are ideas that die on the vine – post-rock, being the hipster step-child of progressive rock, normally carries a gene allowing the songs to progress.


For instrumental music to interest there has to be more dynamics and musicianship than what is displayed in the plodding gloom of ‘Reproach’. The symphonic elements we first hear back on ‘Blood Quantum’ resurface on ‘Indignation’, which sounds along the lines of Godspeed You! Black Emperor


The monotony is broken in part by Minori Sanchiz Fung, who contributes spoken word to a backing of ambiance. Her words match the music in that they too go nowhere in mocking pretense of being “art”. ‘Desire’ closes the album and makes it clear the flirtations with symphonic ambiance are what they are most skilled at and, when they stomp on the distortion pedals, things go array as the downtrodden nature of the music seems to resonate more than any darkness or explosive aggression that is an alien tongue when put into practice here. 


This in turn becomes a misguided soundtrack that only further thickens the mystery of the machine they would like to rage against.


Buy the record here:


6 / 10