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May 2019
Review

Tall Ships - Impressions

You’re going to enjoy the ride.
Tall Ships - Impressions
Published: 7:26 am, February 21, 2017
You’re going to enjoy the ride.

Label: Fat Cat Records
Released: 10th February 2017
Rating: ★★★★

The best bands don’t fit snugly into any one perceived ‘genre’, and Brighton-based Tall Ships certainly can’t be accused of making music that’s easy for journalists to slap a label on and be done with it. Their latest LP, ‘Impressions’, sees the four-piece blend aspects of emo, indie, prog, pop, math-rock and more, resulting in a collection of serene, sombre, genre-defying tracks.

The dramatic, graceful build of opener ‘Road Not Taken’ sets the mood for the remainder of ‘Impressions’: this is a record of many twists and turns, but if you bear with it, the musical pay-off is huge. There are tonal shifts aplenty here, something which is best evidenced by ‘Will To Life’, a track which at different moments calls to mind acts as diverse as Brand New, M83 and Coheed and Cambria. Listening to the eclecticism on display, it’s clear that Tall Ships are true scholars of alternative music. Songs as complex as these don’t just ‘happen’, and it’s obvious that Tall Ships have worked damn hard on this release.

As well as the band’s collective musical prowess, credit must go to frontman Ric Phethean’s lyrical performance. His words echo powerfully throughout the course of ‘Impressions’, leading to an album that’s as much an odyssey of anxiety, catharsis and self-exploration as it is a body of music. “Please forgive me for my boring stories,” pleads Ric on ‘Petrichor’. When your stories are this heartfelt, no apologies are necessary.

With this latest album, Tall Ships have without a doubt made quite the impression. Already loved by the UK indie scene, the vast assortment of influences found on ‘Impressions’ may well see them gain attention from a much wider audience. To any new passengers boarding the Tall Ships vessel off the back of this album we simply say this: we’re sure you’re going to enjoy the ride. Jake Richardson

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