Album Review: Shipwrecks – Self Titled

Shipwrecks album cover by David Caspar
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German post-rockers Shipwrecks released their eponymous three track EP back in 2015. I don’t remember how I stumbled upon it, but it was good enough to impress.

Without wanting to sound too much like a jaded old critic, let’s just say that it is becoming harder to find bands that truly stand out and excite within the post-rock genre. Shipwrecks managed to do so with just three songs.

Those three songs did them proud, earning them support slots touring Europe with Immanu El and Explosions In The Sky.

Two years later, they’ve followed up with a début album – also self titled.

Recording Shipwrecks is a romantic tale of a band locking themselves away in a remote cabin to write and rehearse. They’re a band that sticks to a DIY ethos to do as much as they could in-house. The guitarist oversaw recording and producing. David Caspar, the drummer collected earthy mixed media to make the striking album art. The band used old vintage equipment to capture those warm, rich tones. It almost sounds like a wholesome movie montage.

Not afraid to take their time, the band craft their build-ups. Because, as is the case with most post-rock, this is about long songs full of crescendos.

I find it difficult picking a stand-out track. All of them offer similar things, each with their own little nuances. Long, deliberate, and full of hope. Except the song “Maelstrom”, which feels more ominous than the rest of the tracks. It sounds like you’d expect from something with that name. Listen carefully and you’ll hear murky depths, with something deep underwater bubbling away.

I love the drumming on this album. Regular readers will know that I often focus on the drumming because I am a drummer myself. And this is my style of playing: hard hitting. Not fancy or technical, but packing a punch. Hit with purpose and allow the music space to breathe. There are distinct moments I hear that make me smile, like the when Caspar hits the bright ride bell *ping!* in “Monument”, or playing *dahdahdah DAH* around the kit in “Home”. And of course, he loves to throw in plenty of snare rolls.

As much as I love running a music blog, I find it hard to come up with new ways to describe music. I listen to (and write about) a lot of post-rock and so much of it blurs together. Some quiet picking, rising swells, big crescendo… Which band is this again? And without wanting to unfairly name names, I feel that some of the major players in the scene have released fairly uninspiring and forgettable records in recent years.

Shipwrecks have done well to stand out in a saturated scene. Only two releases in, and they already have a reputation.

Like their name suggests, when you stumble upon Shipwrecks, you’ve found something special. Like a precious sunken treasure, offering knowing references to a rich past. Building upon their influences, Shipwecks offer something familiar, yet not contrived. Nothing groundbreaking – just done well.

Shipwrecks. Image: Mirka Scheuer

Shipwrecks. Image: Mirka Scheuer

Shipwrecks is available via Sportklub Rotter Damm and Maniyax Records.

USA buyers can order through A Thousand Arms 

Shipwrecks links:

Website: http://shipwrecks-music.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shipwrecksmusic

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shipwrecksmusic/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCT02cwVPZTmCavhADv3qOoQ

Bandcamp: http://shipwrecks-music.bandcamp.com/

 

Joseph James

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