'The Sad Sea' is apparently an audio document charting an abortive mission to discover the whereabouts of the "real" Marie Celeste. It's a sweetly packaged CD (all poshly letterpressed) by Hotel Hotel, a Texan "post-rock" band who have quite a colourful biography, what with absconding drummers and eccentric sea-faring chums. The music is quite delicate and lonesome from the beginning, suggesting still, deep murky water & nautical abandonment. Atmospheric drifting with ghostly, meandering guitar yawns and occasional slight percussion. By half way, you're totally lulled into the graceful, yearning pace of it all, a tentative journey embellished with haunting, beautiful viola that has me welling up inside, feeling the solitude of it all. Then the big music lands, Dramatic drums crash into your concioussness whilst all manner of effects laden guitars tell a story of powerful waves & dangerous hallucinations, an attack by a stealthy Leviathan perhaps? Then all is calm again and we sink back into the sonorous neo-orchestral beauty, sad, evocative & beautiful. There's more drama ahead but I've got to admit this is one of the freshest & most atmospheric albums of this genre I've had the pleasure to check in a long while. If you're a fan of all the obvious players, this more than stands up tall alongside.
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