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Desert Ships

Eastern Flow (DS)

By • Feb 18th, 2019 • Category: Album review

Some album reviews are potentially easier than others. If I were merely to write that Ride’s Mark Gardner mixed ‘Eastern Flow’, that would probably do for a large portion of the ITM? readership. It wouldn’t tell you very much about Desert Ships though, or of their psychepop ambitions. As it is Ride made more than one album, and if ‘Eastern Flow’ has a kinship to any of those it is nearer to the luminous whimsy of ‘Carnival Of Light’ than the glacial soundscapes of Ride’s first album. Desert Ships also share a similarity of approach to that of Temples, and their preference for slowing things down and letting the songs develop their own pace pays off, for the most part.

Opener ‘Idle Daze’ is paradoxically one of the album’s livelier numbers, powering along with psychepop elan until it breaks into a less frenetic instrumental break that nods towards the prog inflected excursions of The Porcupine Tree, and if I’ve one actual criticism of ‘Eastern Flow’ it’s that Desert Ships often sound as if they’d like to go off on one instrumentally, but are seemingly hemmed in by their actual songs. Not exactly a fault, although if they did what it seems they want to and turned tracks like ‘Cloudy Skies’ and ‘Monkfish’ into twenty minute epics I’m quite sure that’d work for them.

Later tracks such as ‘Rainy Day’ and ‘Ignite Me’ seem like more contained actual songs in comparison, with more emphasis on vocals and lyrics and less on studio improvisations, although it says much that Desert Ships never miss an opportunity to provide us with a collage of amplified mirages. Then they go all noir-ish ballad with album highlight ‘Passing Ships’ and lastly with the deconstructed alt. jazz of ‘Spacey’ and its maniacal saxophone break, music of a type that Desert Ships ought to let us hear more of.

Their first full length release since 2012’s ‘Doll Skin Flag’, Desert Ships ought to make more albums that are at least as good as ‘Eastern Flow’, and preferably release them at intervals of less than seven years.

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