You would think that a band that is all over the sonic map on their debut is a band that has no idea who they are yet. Then you listen to Unlearn. The newest Seattle trio takes simple rock instrumentation and explores what cinematic qualities can be coaxed out of them. “Places” literally sends guitar, keyboards and drums into adventurous areas.
Of course, when searching out new places sometimes you can drive around for awhile before finding somewhere cool. There are traces of post-rock, freak-folk, electronica and drone here, with “Whiteout,” “Lost and Found” and “Elmwood Drive” being the most evocative. Sigur Ros does come to mind, but the epic feel is there for the taking by anyone. Here, ballads use found sounds, guitars shuffle as if trying to waltz. “Northern Hemispheres” sweeps grandly over all the ambitions attempted here.
While sometimes, especially in the longer tunes, the band falls band on sonic washes to hold place until a good idea arises, “Places” is a daring record. Unlearn certainly have a pocketful of ideas, and have a sense of majestic sweep that puts them in a good position for further exploration...and further epic moments. 7/10 -- Mike Wood (8 April, 2009)