Recklessly She Split the Sea

Oh Captain, My Captain

William Gillespie

It's hard to write a review of Recklessly She Split the Sea, the debut CD from Portland's Oh Captain, My Captain, without comparing it to other bands like King Crimson, Radiohead and Styx. But describing bands in terms of other bands is too easy.

The album, in presentation, music, sequence, and flash, has an inspired sense of rock drama. Metallic, interlocking guitar cogs propel vocals that more than make up in emotion what they lack in intelligibility. Bold, strident waves of poetry smash on rock, tossing the skull of the listener.

This music is disciplined, passionate, articulate, anxious and howling like a storm at sea. The album has the cohesive feel of a concept album, though this consistency makes it hard to pick out songs that might stand on their own. There is not much to break up the driving momentum in the way of changes of tempo, instrumentation, timbre, or mood. The album art is evocative, and the liner notes minimal, leaving much to the imagination – at times, it may seem like too much. For songs that sound so meaningful, it is surprisingly difficult to tell what they might be about (other than about 40-minutes long).

For a debut album, this has more of the mature feel of a masterpiece. I sense an integrity in the musicianship that I expect will cultivate increasingly sophisticated – and tormented – musical outpourings. I hope these guys never get successful enough to relax.

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