Concrete Ships: In Observance

Hailing from Lindum Colonia, Concrete Ships, base their force on a noise rock underlayer, and from there they expand toward post rock, hardcore and psychedelic rock territories, generating a sound which isn't easy to pin down. It isn't only the genre amalgamating factor of what Concrete Ships do the part which makes their music interesting though. The trio's ability to write engaging compositions has been discernible through their eponymous EP from 2018, and that attribute is now clearly well advanced, since on their second offering the band give the impression of a fully fledged and developed act, without having to polish up their sound in an unfit for them manner.

Singles Flotilla and Clouds demonstrated two identifying aspects of Concrete Ships; their edgy, yet rather direct noise rock approach, and their more daring and grand one respectively. They succeed at both, as Flotilla, the record's opener, hits like an unrelenting stoner rocker which shows the band's untamed intentions from the get go, and Clouds takes their grit to an elevated intellectual level. These two tracks were arguably the finest choices for the EP's flagship singles, however, the band had more to show and offer, especially on the dark front.

A Record of Ancient Matters and Vibration White Finger, both lengthy and restive, and slanted on the more adventurous angle of the band's perspective, are excellent examples of what Concrete Ships can do when they turn dark. Both these tracks follow thorough structures with surprising twists, at times verging on extreme metal, and fitfully displaying phenomenal restraint and discipline. Those are also the pieces where the band's obviously progressed production shines the most, blueprints of how to pull off a fuller production without even getting close to the risk of sounding tediously overworked. Even the two minute ambiance of Observe is there serving a cause, that of a necessary and atmospheric breather among moments of high tension.

Closer, We Never Were, is practically the sum of the whole release's spirit, a ten-minute cut whose gothic foundation is mingled with a post hardcore drive, counterbalancing the nerviness and the chaos that the distressed vocals bring with a imperturbable melodiousness, and well directed shifts. Ultimately the track paints an abstract picture that makes a crystal clean impression. 

Concrete Ships spotlight an augmented and nimble level of musicianship on In Observance, and they don't play it safe, although they could have, had they aimed for a more approachable result. Their vision of what kind of heavy noise rock suits them best is clear though, and they exhaust its possibilities.

In Observance is out now through Trepanation Recordings. 

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