Wednesday, 11 August 2010

REVIEW: Tall Ships EP

Tall Ships are an intriguing trio from Falmouth, Cornwall and the latest band on the lips and fingertips of every blogger and blogger-ette in the know.

Having cosied up to the likes of the oh-so-brilliant Tubelord on a host of UK tour dates; this, their debut EP, was sold out before being released as a pre-order. Despair not however; a spangly second batch are on their way "hand printed, hand cut, hand assembled, hand everything...into the ether for general consumption." Prepare to pounce sooner than you can say "collectors item" because these vinyls will be gold-dust by the time these guys hit up global main stages.

The EP itself is an eclectic mix of songs, representative of Tall Ships' varied repertoire. 'Books' provides the opener of the self-titled EP with a subdued synth line, akin to the whimsical specialities of I Was A Cub Scout (R.I.P) before breaking into a dancier Delphic-esque rhythm. This intensity swells to its peak about 1:50 before crumbling away to the barebones of a delicate vocal with synth-y undertones maintaining the pace. "Ty-ee-ey-ee-ey-ee-ey-ime, ty-ee-ime is precious" coos Tall Ships’ lead singer, as skin-tight percussion whips the choruses into frenzied highs.

'Words Are Pegs Upon Which We Hang Ideas' (a close contender for the best song name evah) begins at a similarly mellow pace before picking up around 1:40 with a riff, tinted with shades of Blakfish and Tellison. A math-rocky hue also features at this point with Foals-approved brass and energetic guitar line reinforcing this. Despite the absence of lyrics, the strength of the instrumental holds it’s feisty own for the 4:17 duration.

This maths-pop/rock vibe extends into the third track of the EP, "Beanieandodger", with two shrill guitars competing with each other yet creating a harmonious pairing. This delicacy is offset with a beastlier riff kicking in around 1:15; before retreating to the same precision, enhanced by the glockenspiel accompaniment. The track dissolves to its finish, the guitar and percussion both gradually plodding to a halt.

EP closer "Vessels" begins with a similarly serene acoustic/synth duo, complimented by Bon-Iver-esque warbling. The tempo is escalated by a grand guitar interlude followed by a sea-shanty organ. This fittingly nautical instrumental is married to a similarly sailor-like chant - "Our vessel that carried you and me, now sits at the bottom, the bottom of the sea." With the organ gradually fading, the rowdy chorus and percussion live on until the final clash of a cymbal. And the rest is silence.

All I can say is that if Tall Ships continue to make music to this standard, it’s plain sailing from hereon in.

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