Though a precursory loud-to-soft template had been well-established by groups such as Isis and Neurosis when Pelican came along in 2003, the Chicago instrumental quartet nonetheless stands out for its distinct brand of melodic heaviness. Much like those aforementioned experimental innovators, Pelican makes expansive, brooding, long-winded music. But the similarities end there. For one, Pelican leans more heavily to the non-distorted, winding guitars made famous by its hometown's post-rock community (see: Tortoise). More remarkably, however, Pelican sounds natural in both modes, and its transitions between the two don't sound as forced as they do with the majority of the band's influences and peers. Bands on either side of the post-metal and post-rock divide tend to make ponderous displays of mood, but Pelican rolls through its music, sounding loose and carefree as it goes. Meanwhile, the band's refreshingly uncontrived nods to classic rock help tie its sound together into a cohesive whole.