Release DetailsLABEL Crucial Blast
RELEASED ON 7/24/2007
Souvenir's Young America
An Ocean Without Water
posted on 10/2007 By:
"Sort of like if Godspeed You Black Emperor! scored an epic western."
When I was trying to explain the sound of Souvenir's Young America that statement came out of my mouth without much thought, but I stand by it completely. After several listens and quite a bit of thought, that is still the best brief description I can come up with. An Ocean Without Water is apparently the sophomore release for Richmond's Souvenir's Young America, but the band is completely new to me and I must say they've left quite an impression on me.
These Virginia boys play epic instrumental rock with stark, lonesome arrangements full of emotive guitar ambience anchored by strong songwriting that is actually quite deliberate. By that I mean the movements in the songs and the repetition always feel purposeful without sacrificing their abstract textures. The tones used are generally warm and expressive and the band does an excellent job at balancing subtleties with blatant force. For instance, in "Blood Alone Does Not A Father Make" the band builds from layered organs, harmonica, slide guitars, and strings, and tinkers with a melodic theme before shifting gears with a heavy, yet tuneful distorted riff.
While not metal per se, the band is heavy sonically as well as emotionally and when they utilize heavy distortion and pounding rhythms they give off a vague Neurosis vibe. Along with the Godspeed reference, the band's songwriting style and abstract textural ventures have a lot in common with Grails, though SYA paint with very different shades. At times they can be quite melancholy and at other times their melodies take on a much more uplifting tone, making for an interesting listen.
At just a shade over 40 minutes, An Ocean Without Water isn't terribly long and certainly doesn't overstay its welcome. It's a complex listen that reveals more details each spin, but is also a great album to put on and just drift away. I know this style is becoming increasingly crowded, but as long as unique, quality efforts like this still come out, it's okay by me.
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