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Of Sinking Ships

  Of Sinking Ships  
  Gilead Media  
Release Date:
Reviewed by:
  Brett Spaceman  

Opening track The Last Signal tells us everything to expect from Of Sinking Ships. Gentle, shimmering verses followed by choruses reminiscent of Explosions in the Sky, stirring the emotions perhaps with slightly more restraint than their Austin counterparts. Track length is a noticeable difference too. Where the likes of Explosions in the Sky and Mogwai are synonymous with 9min plus epics, Of Sinking Ships keep proceedings around the 5 minute mark.

Of Sinking Ships is the experimental project of Hopesfall's Chad Waldrup. Interested in beautiful and thoughtful exploration, Chad went into the studio and recorded his music, playing every instrument himself. The resultant disc existed in very limited availability until Gilead Media orchestrated this re-release.

The Circumstance maintains the standards and intent set out by The Last Signal. The guitar arrangements feel folk-influenced and with no vocal of any kind, be it sung, spoken word, guest or sampled, Of Sinking Ships face the familiar post-rock hurdle namely how to engender their long player with sufficient personality or variety to carry the listener from start to finish. Waldrup manages to alter the mood with each subsequent track. The Spargo Twin at 5:48 is perhaps overlong and bordering on filler, but it is business as usual on But We'll All Sleep Better Tonight, which returns to emotive, melodic content. One can only speculate as to the theme or mood of the music being conveyed, but it speaks more to me of optimism and hope than the despair of many Of Sinking Ships' peers.

The standout piece for me, With One More For Company, has that ring of familiarity to it, recalling the first time I played The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place (by the afore-mentioned Explosions in the Sky). Gorgeous at times, it makes clever use of percussion to drive the piece forward towards its giddy denouement.

I Hope Your Teenage Dreams Find You Well gently shows off Waldrup's playing abilities. The eighth track, the meandering, Though They Never Turn Out Right doesn't quite do enough for me to justify its placing as final track. This is more a collection than an album with a narrative arc. I can imagine rearranging the entire running order of Of Sinking Ships and having little detrimental effect to the overall outcome.

Of Sinking Ships is an easy album to recommend to insatiable Post Rock/experimental instrumental fans. If you fancy some "explosions in the sea", look no further. Fussier ones might wish to check for themselves. Think Yndi Halda or possibly even Mono? Only less climactic. If you're completely new to the genre, where have you been? This will be a treat without doubt but you'd be wise to e-mail me, or Brendan, for a crash course in life-changing music.

Oh and the digipac is absolutely gorgeous.

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