Small Sails: Similar Anniversaries

Resonant, 2007

Similar Anniversaries cover

This record immediately brings to mind folk/rock/experimental electronic groups like Animal Collective and Mum with its driving beats, acoustic guitars, shimmering electronics, and whimsical, wordless vocals.

“Somnambulist” begins the album with a summery acoustic guitar arpeggio and is quickly accompanied by a driving 4/4 kick drum and some harmonious humming. The track continues to evolve at a steady pace, adding more percussion and a banjo. The production is very lush and really gets the record off on the right foot. There isn’t much time to let that great first track linger in your head because my personal favorite track “Aftershocks and Afterthoughts” follows quickly on its heels. Backwards sounds swoop in. A simple acoustic guitar loop and a fat breakbeat set this track right, before cymbal crashes and a shimmering synth lead explore what bliss sounds like. More nonsensical but oh-so melodious vocals of “Hi oh I Oh Hi oh Hi” enter into the mix and really make this track great.

The whole album maintains good quality and varies its templates ever so slightly from track to track, preventing the boredom that sometimes accompanies entire albums of this style of music. Although, I did find myself wanting a little more from the vocals at times, such as a tangible verse here or there. I’m sure the group is just finding their voice, as it were, and will probably evolve to include more lyrical vocals in the future. If they do I hope they employ a freeform and experimental outlook towards writing those lyrics.

When the snow starts to melt away this will be a great record to put on in the backyard during a barbecue with some cold beverages. I’m actually surprised this group isn’t more renowned.

5/5 stars

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