Thursday, April 13, 2006

Unwed Sailor, Circles, Burnt Toast Vinyl

Circles consists of two tracks. Fortunately, it isn't a full-length, but "Mist" (11:09) and "Mesa" (5:17) are longer than your average pop tunes. Then again, this isn't pop. The EP follows The Marionette and the Music Box (2003) and precedes Unwed Sailor's third long player, The White Ox, set to be released this August. Both were recorded in Bloomington, IN by main man Johnathon Ford (Pedro the Lion) with Daniel Burton, Phillip Blackwell, and Matt Griffin. Ford has since relocated to Seattle.

As mentioned in my review of Belong's October Language, instrumental rock isn't really my thing. When it comes to music, the first things I usually listen for are the vocals, followed by the beat, and then the lyrics. In that order. Everything else comes later. So how to evaluate a recording devoid of those elements? Well, "Mesa" has a subtle groove to it, so that helps. "Mist" is more ambient. Artists that come to mind include Brian Eno and Peter Gabriel. Both pieces are soothing, but not soporific, although a third or more variety within the two would've been welcome. Circles but doesn't go as far, do as much as it should. As a "taster" for Unwed Sailor's upcoming album, however, it gets the job done, i.e. I look forward to hearing the CD (and I'd never heard the band before). The cover design is by James Marsh, who has produced Talk Talk's album art since 1982, much of which is quite lovely--same with Circles.

Note: Band image from the AMG. James Marsh's "The Heart of the Rainforest" from the Cutter Gallery.