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"The Amaranthine Sea"

Release date: 24 March 2014
…Of Sinking Ships – The Amaranthine Sea
19 March 2014, 11:30 Written by Stephen Jenkins

Post-rock is a nightmare genre for any music writer and because of this, …Of Sinking Ships’ second album, The Amaranthine Sea, is a nightmare album to review. Not for the merit of the music (which in this instance is of a very high quality, by the way) but for the fact that every time I sit down to write this review I find myself on the cusp of emptying my lexical bowels all over the page.

Paradoxically, in lieu of verbal lyrical prompters from which to normally evaluate the mood of a record, this reviewer oftentimes feels the need to unnecessarily wax lyrical over the instrumental mood swings of the music when it comes to post-rock. I mean, I wouldn’t say things like ‘in lieu of’ or ‘oftentimes’ in any scenario other than this one.

With every crushing crescendo of The Amaranthine Sea I feel the need to draw on analogies of colossal cosmic bodies colliding in the blaze of a supernova, even though that’s a pretty useless metaphor since neither you nor I have ever witnessed such a phenomenon in person, and even if we had it will have made no audible impression in the soundless vacuum of space, and we’d probably have evaporated from the heat of it all anyway. But for some reason it sounds like a cool thing to say.

And then when things are a bit calmer, you could liken the sounds of the album as a bit like being in in the vortex of a tornado, looking up as heavenly light beams down on you and blinds you from the debris of destruction and farmyard animals that are spiralling around your head, but you’d soon realise that you’re just describing the final scene from the 1996 film Twister starring Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton.

So lets just stick to the basics, shall we? The Amaranthine Sea is the second album to hail from …Of Sinking Ships, the creative vision of Chris Waldrup, formally of post-hardcore (don’t even get me started…) band Hopesfall, a chap called Tim Cosser once of HRVRD and a bloke called Ethan Ricks. Between them, the North Carolina based band have interchangeably tapped and bashed at some drums whilst they’ve tinkled and thrashed at some strings. The end product is a set of songs that are painstakingly crafted into layers of musical gorgeousness.

Following a theme of nautical song titles throughout, the album sails through the triumphantly buoyant “Shifting Only With The Winds”, through the pernicious course of “Rumbling On Dark Winds, A Wicked Premonition”, then through the stormy waters of “Colliding On Rocks I Knew Not Existed”, and all the way to the blissful “For The Isle of Reverie”. It’s the mood music to a great odyssean voyage, it is Moby Dick’s “jam”, and it was playing on repeat during all of Sinbad’s Seven Voyages. To you and me, it’s perfect for sticking on your iPod on a choppy ferry over the English Channel. I’ve already booked ten return journeys. Fingers crossed the weather is shite.

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