At first, Long Distance Calling seemed like another NeurIsis clone. They had long songs, organic rhythms, and soft/loud dynamics. Even the artwork seemed derivative of mid-'90s Chicago post-rock. But one night, their brilliance floored me. I fell in love. I found this year's Year of No Light, the band that does the NeurIsis sound even better than the masters.

Fire in the Mountain
The Very Last Day

The key to Satellite Bay (Viva Hate, 2007) is clean tones. Quite simply, they're touching. They interlock like finest cloth weaving. The attention to detail is incredible. Pink Floyd's David Gilmour comes to mind. Even when the guitars inevitably pop distortion pedals, they retain delicacy. In fact, I could do without the dirty parts, the clean ones are so good. But I don't mind the oomph. It's physical; I often find myself rocking back and forth to this record. That is, when I'm not lying down, heartstrings twisted to breaking point.

An added bonus is the perfect production. The drum kit is probably the best-sounding I've heard this year. Guitars sound natural, electric, and hot and cold when necessary. The bass is throbbing and full. Vocals are infrequent, highly processed, usually spoken word. Peter Dolving makes a most un-Haunted cameo; dig the haunting quote from Kafka's The Trial in "Fire in the Mountain."

I'm really not doing this record justice. It's hard to step back from new love. Yes, Germans have heart. Mine.

Satellite Bay is available on CD from The End, and in limited edition colored vinyl and CD metal box set from Viva Hate.