Small Leaks Sink Ships

Face Yourself, And Remove Your Sandals

Written by: PP on 11/03/2015 21:58:42

Eight years ago, Small Leaks Sink Ships released one of the most intriguing art rock albums I've heard to date in the form of the peculiarly titled "Until The World Is Happy, Wake Up You Sleepyhead Sun". It was a brilliant exposition of progressive rock welded into a modern alternative rock format with plenty of experimentalism merged within that sounded like it was inspired by everyone from Coheed And Cambria to The Mars Volta and muse. It was also a perplexingly complex album that took forever to grow on you, but once it did, the reward was breathtaking. In the meantime, the band have been quiet. One EP was released back in 2011, but nothing else has aired from the studio since then. But then again, it does take copious amounts of time to compose song structures as convoluted and challenging as Small Leaks Sink Ships do, so it's not a huge surprise to see "Face Yourself, And Remove Your Sandals" having taken such a long time to write and record.

Since then, other bands have popped up on radar that now make it much easier to draw comparisons to just how Small Leaks Sink Ships sound. You know, art rock with progressive tendencies isn't always the easiest of genres to put down on paper. A very similar approach to awkward and strange soundscapes is taken by the Aussies in The Red Paintings, whose story-driven expression is so odd it makes reviewers squirm in attempts at analysing it properly. Here, Small Leaks Sink Ships take a similarly explorative approach towards their soundscape, going through everything from tranquil piano rock and indie rock to voluminous progressive rock sections, with post-rock elements and mathy sections embedded within. The percussion, too, is noteworthy for its unconventional application, which is partially what gives the album its intriguing texture. All of this is of course significantly different from the slightly more aggressive and catchier alternative rock-oriented songwriting of their debut, but somehow the pure art rock approach feels like it was always going to be this band's home territory anyway.

Here, throughout the course of ten songs, the band concentrates not so much on writing catchy passages rather than ambitious works as a whole. There's a slightly nervous atmosphere all-encompassing the record, suggesting the songs are designed to work together as a complete group rather than to be sliced into individual songs. That's why lengthy and delicate instrumental parts do not feel bothersome against their more relatable counterparts where awkward clean vocals are liberally spread in a desire to experiment stylistical boundaries. For some, this may, of course, be too much, but for art rock fanatics Small Leaks Sink Ships have released yet another marvel of the genre, though at the cost of accessibility which was a factor elevating their debut album to its critical acclaim.


Download: Midnight Jinn, Yellow Bird
For the fans of: The Red Paintings, Coheed And Cambria, 65daysofstatic, Dream The Electric Sleep
Listen: Facebook

Release date 21.02.2015

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