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"New Moore Island"

The Mariner's Children – New Moore Island
04 November 2010, 11:00 Written by Matt Conner

Whether it’s the frenetic, orchestral romp that peaks in the middle or the self-titled instrumental that comes next, New Moore Island displays an exquisite execution for each of its near-19 minutes of playing time. The only downside to this debut for The Mariner’s Children is that it sets an impossibly high level of expectations of any future endeavors. Then again, that’s like describing your weaknesses in a job interview as, “Sometimes I work too hard.”

Given its first few strums and snare hits, New Moore Island didn’t seem like it was headed toward in such a delicious direction. The early harmonies, the yelps and hollers, and a slightly arrhythmic feel gave the aforementioned romp, ‘It Carved Your Name Into The Ground,’ a chaotic front porch feel. It almost comes off as a band of friends found a cabin full of instruments and, armed with alcoholic accoutrements, had themselves a rousingly good time.

Future listens, however, dispel such ridiculous notions. Given its context amidst some of the most beautifully delicate measures released this year (more in a moment), ‘It Carved Your Name Into The Ground’ establishes a musical bookend for this seven-piece and keeps New Moore Island from becoming too morbid an affair.

Only five songs comprise the EP, but the disc is a rather hearty listen for such a short running time. ‘Drunken Heart’ thunders forward with a fantastic orchestral movement and a full-scale approach a la Anathallo. Here, the male/female vocal approach works wonders alongside the heavy-handed instrumentation, and by the end, the song sounds straight out of a cinematic credits roll.

‘Coal’ meets the listener with moody strings and haunting harmonies over lines like “There’s no more coal for the fire my love / But I’ll gladly burn myself.” It’s the album’s highlight track and sets an emotional intensity early that waxes and wanes but never dispels. Meanwhile, ‘Golden Pine’ maintains the feel of a light, acoustic feather, betraying lines of a lover who’s left.

The Mariner’s Children has its work cut out given the oversaturated digital market, but great music eventually rises to the surface so there’s hope yet for they attention they deserve. New Moore Island is an intimate, poignant release that’s impressive in every way.


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