Desert Ships released their second album ‘Eastern Flow’ at the start of the month. It’s a wonderful collection of dream wave rock tracks, each one bringing into focus something powerful but floaty too. There’s a lot to love.
The main thrust of Desert Ships is rock with psychedelic elements. It’s just that each track goes about it differently. The opening track ‘Idle Daze’ has hooks aplenty and reminded me a little of Syd Arthur’s style of rock. The jangley guitars are euphoric, the keyboards are on point and the riffs come hard. The acoustic Beatles tinged ‘Sleep It Off’, ‘Passing Ships’ and ‘Rainy Day’ take a different approach with its lush melodies and smooth glide in the acoustic rock vibes. Each track feels like a throwback to that glorious era of kaleidoscope rock but without straying too far into the abyss. It’s excellently judged and ‘Passing Ships’ in particular is a radio hit in waiting. ‘Time’ is more of a muted pop rock track, nodding towards the rubbery rock of the ’80s (think U2 crossed with 4AD artists) and is darker in tone. The main hum comes from airy pads and organs though, so it feels like a spacious void too.
Outside of these tracks, Desert Ships explore some of their instrumental sides in more detail. ‘Monkfish’ and ‘Ignite Me’ have extended instrumental sections that both relish in that slightly Eastern sensibility of chord structures and guitar twangs. ‘Spacey’ then moves the entire band into a space-jazz rock finale. As the brass solo freaks out over vintage sounding strings, the percussionist rocks out like a human beat machine. I’d have liked to have seen the excellent string arrangements rear their heads elsewhere on the album as whilst the music feels full and satisfying, the strings on the final track are phenomenal.
In conclusion, ‘Eastern Flow’ is a great album. It’s a little mid-tempo heavy but in the grand scheme of things – that actually helps a rhythmic dream-rock album as the flow remains present throughout. Desert Ships will be ones to watch in the future.
Recommended track: Passing Ships
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