Unwed Sailor - Underwater Over There [CD] | RECORD STORE DAY
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Tulsa, Oklahoma’sUnwed Sailorhave been on a tear over thepast few years. Following a quiet phase through much of the2010s, they reëmerged with the aptly titledHeavy Age(2019),and two more full-lengths,Truth Or Consequences(2021)andMute The Charm(2023), that chart a remarkable evolutionof their bass-led, pop-leaning post rock. OnUnderwater OverThere– their ninth LP overall – a current of 80s goth andjangle-pop runs beneath a litany of memorable hooks andcompositional left turns, creating a propulsive and intricateworld of sound.The band worked collectively on all elements of mixing andproduction to craft a meticulously layered environment, whilemaintaining an air of spontaneity and experimentation acrossthe set. Early standout, “Final Feather”, drifts through varyinglandscapes of airiness and haze on a high-neck bass hook,while the hum of voices adds a contrast of angelic comfort.Bearing influence fromNew OrderandThe Curein particular,its balance of gravitas and shimmer is the result of foundingmemberJohnathon Ford’s intuitive writing method: the leadbass line comes first, followed by supporting melodies, drums,guitars, keys, and final detailing.Dusty” is a prime example of this process, as Ford’s powerful,low-end groove anchors a full-spectrum array of guitars, bells,and arpeggiations along withMatt Putman’s energetic drumsection. Its fluid pacing provides a perfect establishing shot,with shifting moods that gather into a coda guided byDavidSwatzell’s harmonized, glittering guitar riffs – a sunrise after amoonless night. In quick succession, “Blue Tangier” widensthe aperture with a pounding percussive refrain, vibrant basstone and an unforgettable, fuzzed-out melodic motif.Sprawling centerpiece, “Junko”, is a loose callback to 2003’sThe Marionette and The Music Box, its deliberate stride andinterwoven melodies evoking the hands of a mechanical clock,and the anticipation of something long-awaited but nebulous. Itdrifts effortlessly from innocence to intrigue, expands into amesmerizing howl, and vanishes abruptly into mist.While honoring their forebears in winks and nods, Unwed Sailorremain totally inimitable in their approach and style, twenty-fiveyears into an acclaimed career. The band’s clear vision forUnderwater Over Therehas yielded some of their mostindelible work, and their inventive, passionate approach gives astrong sense of plenty more beyond the horizon