There's a hackneyed turn of phrase within music reviewing that means to be a compliment, but is a bit of a backhander: "the band have arrived fully-formed." It seeks to praise their identity, but undermines the work and missteps that inevitably led to that point. It implies a level of chance which just isn't a factor. Simply saying "they know who they are" would be infinitely preferable.
The Welcome Party know themselves pretty well, and on 'Where We Go' they wring everything they can out of an ambitious five minutes. As much in thrall to post-punk dynamics as post-rock catharsis, the song has its own distinct momentum and refuses to settle into a predictable pattern.
In the wrong hands, the main guitar riff would be the sole focus of the track and quickly lose its edge, but here it's twisted into new shapes through palm mutes and broken arpeggios as the song builds. The rhythm section is its best friend, dragging it along and forcing the inherent melancholia into something much more vital.
You can find elements of earlier, angrier National, The JAMC, Morphine and the criminally forgotten Hope of the States, but The Welcome Party remain themselves throughout, needling away at their own song until it becomes the best it can be. This is an immensely satisfying turn, and it comes from their equally excellent Always Winter EP, which is out June 3.