The most recent seasons of Doctor Who have featured a recurring villains who go by the name of The Silence. These creatures are malevolent beings who can only be perceived when they are being looked at. The moment you turn your back on them and stop paying attention to them, you forget that they ever existed - with only an echo of the encounter with them remaining with you.
I was reminded of these creatures whilst listening to For Those Who Caught The Sun in Flight, the debut release by Leeds-based septet Tomorrow We Sail, a perfectly decent album which despite repeated listens, just would not imprint itself on my mind.
First the positives. For Those Who... sees the band mix two genres that you might not immediately think would go well together, namely pastoral English folk and decibel-heavy post-rock. Despite the potential for disaster in this approach, it actually tends to come across rather well. This is particularly evident on closing track ‘For Rosa’, which culminates in a roaring wall of sound, topped off by what sounds like a possessed, demented fiddle to great effect.
Elsewhere, there are individual moments on the album which stick out. Of these, the closing a capella moments of ‘The White Rose’ are the most memorable. The exultant sound of the band singing "you have brought this country to its knees", has an almost transcendent quality to it, and shows that somewhere within this album, there is a world-beating record just waiting to break out.
Unfortunately, there are more than a few drawbacks that prevents For Those Who… from rising above its peers. For a start, despite only featuring seven tracks, it's far too long. Even for a genre which tends to eschew the limitations of the three-minute pop song, 56 minutes just seems far too long. Ten minutes lopped off would have left a much more focused and less meandering collection of songs. If brevity really is the soul of wit, then Tomorrow We Sail must be a humourless lot.
In addition, on some of the tracks there seems to be some dissonance between the voice of the singer and the production of the tracks. It is evident that Tomorrow We Sail are very much inspired by the sound of Sigúr Rós, which is no bad thing. However, when it comes to matching their vocal style, they fall somewhat short. Whilst Jonsi's vocals have an air of both fragility and grace, this is rarely evident on this record. Tim Hay's baritone lead vocals on tracks like ‘The Well & The Tide’ and ‘Eventide’ jar somewhat with the music they accompany.
For Those Who Caught The Sun In Flight is an album I wanted to enjoy and Tomorrow We Sail are clearly great musicians. But while the album should pick up a few admirers from people who want to listen to well constructed walls of sound from a different perspective, all the good ideas in evidence here are just stretched too thin to be truly memorable.
5Christopher McBride's Score