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Album Review: Tall Ships – Everything Touching

If I were to take a proverbial approach with this review, I would say that Everything Touching is an exquisite example of how patience is a virtue. This debut’s been a long time coming, and Tall Ships have been building up an eager anticipation over what feels like the last ten years, although it’s really only been a few. Nevertheless, they have managed to deftly polish and craft their sound, find out what they can or can’t do, and mold themselves into a band that takes a fresh look at the highly diverse worlds of rock.

And so it quickly becomes apparent that this is a ten-track array of huge guitar anthems that gleam beside the borders of different genres. ‘T=0’ kicks off the album with a gritty guitar hook that steadily intensifies, only to fade away to make room for the drums, hushed murmurs, and vocals. It then takes you by the hand to swiftly guide you into the rip-roaring ‘Best Ever’, an agitated, pulsating mix of math-rock instrumentals that misleadingly settles into fragile strums only to burst forth as it draws to a close. ‘Phosphorescence’ builds a unifying chorus upon a dynamic, looped synth melody, while further into the album is ‘Gallop’ a put-your-hands-in-the-air-and-jump-around-like-you’re-at-a-festival-when-you’re-really-just-in-your-bedroom type anthem.

Elsewhere, ‘Idolatry’ utilizes an angelic melody and floating harmonies; by balancing and weaving the two together, the track radiates a delicate, ethereal feel as it fades into ‘Send News’ that, at first, is reminiscent of M83 – until the drums come in, at least, to beat you into the old ‘Books’. Like ‘Ode to Ancestors’, it’s been re-worked and replaced the more eccentric with the emotive, but without compromising or losing any of the appeal.

Riddled with remarkable sentiments and a zealous dynamic, Everything Touching brings fragmented ideas together in a startlingly unique way. Although you have to hang on for nearly ten minutes until the final track, ‘Murmurations’, actually ends, it’s by no means a strenuous experience – establishing a pulsing beat from the outset that remains at forefront of the melody means they’re free to swirl synths, build basslines, and rouse a dizzying anticipation in a listener as it thrives, reaching the pinnacle of musical vibrancy with a unified vocal chorus that wraps itself neatly around the instrumentation.

The entire record flows together brilliantly. As you’re led along a road lined with doors of musical fascination, you’re guided through them, one at a time, which comfortably bridges the gaps between the distinctive sounds.

-Charlie Clarkson



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