Airship - Stuck in This Ocean (Music CD)

Release Date: 05 September 2011
Artist: Airship
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From the avant-garde art rock of Everything Everything to the pulsing indie disco of Delphic to the post-apocalyptic fervor of Wu Lyf, the current Manchester scene is positively overflowing with experimental guitar bands. Perhaps sensing a "small fish in a big pond" scenario, Glossop four-piece Airship's debut album, Stuck in This Ocean, avoids competing with its Mancunian neighbors by focusing on a far more conventional, and some would say slightly safe, life-affirming sound which sits somewhere in-between the chiming stadium rock of U2 and Radiohead's more accessible post-rock leanings. Produced by Dan Austin (Doves) and Editors guitarist Chris Urbanowicz, its 11 tracks, smothered in layers of fuzzy guitar riffs, shoegazing basslines, and pounding percussion, don't exactly adhere to the "less is more" approach, and in the case of the sprawling and intense eight-minute "The Trial of Mr. Riddle," build and build until there's nowhere left to go. This constant grandiosity can be a little overbearing, with the early, gospel-tinged promise of the closing title track and the brooding, gothic grunge intro of "Spirit Party," soon overwhelmed by its reverb-drenched Wall of Sound. On the likes of the nostalgic, prog-inspired "Kids," the glam rock-tinged "Invertebrate," and the mournful, synth-led "Gold Watches" (the latter perhaps the only evidence of their professed love for U.S. slacker college bands), they get the epic balance just right. But it's only when frontman Elliott Williams' tender vocals come to the forefront on the more introspective, latter half of the record that the band's strongest weapon, their beautiful slow-burning melodies, are allowed to shine. "Organ" is a suitably solemn duet with the Joy Formidable's Ritzy Bryan, which sounds like Coldplay's "Fix You" as recorded by My Bloody Valentine, "Test" combines Foals-esque angular hooks with '80s new wave beats and melancholic piano chords to produce an authentic slice of retro-student bedsit indie, while the twinkling ambient electronica, shaking tambourines, and eerie sound effects of "Vampires" suggest they may not be as far removed from their contemporaries as they first thought. Indeed, if Airship can continue to steer themselves toward this more subtle but still multi-textured territory, it's unlikely that they'll be stuck in their hometown's Mancunian waters for too long. ~ Jon O'Brien
Release Date: 05 September 2011
Artist: Airship

1. Algebra
2. Invertebrate
3. Kids
4. Gold Watches
5. Spirit Party
6. The Trial of Mr. Riddle
7. Organ
8. Test
9. Vampires
10. This Is Hell
11. Stuck in This Ocean

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Catalogue No: PIASR519CDX