September 09, 2021

Tall Ships - Impressions (2017)

Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Alternative Rock
Label Number: FATCD145
.FLAC via Florenfile
.AAC 256 kbps via Florenfile

© 2017 Fat Cat Records
Impressions Review by Liam Martin
After several years of struggling with personal health, label/management issues, and a loss of faith in the music industry, Tall Ships return with their triumphant second album; triumphant in the same sense as someone who has just run a marathon -- full of pride and achievement, but a little exhausted all the same. That's not to say that Tall Ships sound tired on Impressions; if anything, they have mastered quiet-loud dynamics and know how to pace every crescendo against every moment of reprieve. It's more akin to Mystery Jets' 2016 album Curve of the Earth, in that it finds lead vocalist Ric Phethean reflecting on themes of regret and hope in equal measure, leading to genuine emotional weight; in other words, they have matured. The downside is that the loss of naivete detracts from the spritely side of Tall Ships. In audible terms, this manifests with the loss of the angular, borderline math rock elements that set Tall Ships apart from their contemporaries. Opener "Road Not Taken" wastes no time in tackling introspection and regret -- the title itself alludes to the many paths that could have been explored had different decisions been made -- with the quiet verses equating to moments of doubt and the choruses defiantly taking ownership of the present, alluding to the quandary the band faced after the release of their debut.

After all, the existence of this album is, in itself, a testament to Tall Ships' tenacity: where many lesser groups would have called it a day, they persevered. Even if a cocktail of doubt and willpower left them drained, they have proven they don't need label advances to get their music to the masses, a sentiment they reference on "Will to Life." The rest of the album plays out in much the same way -- with highlights "Home" and "Meditations" presenting slight melodic and Motorik variations, respectively. While Impressions does seem a little weighed down, it's really a document of their struggle, making their second attempt to leave the runway somewhat relatable; inevitably, it's hard not to root for them as they spread their wings independently. And who knows, now that they've shed some emotional ballast, perhaps album three will find them soaring even higher.

tags: tall ships, impressions, 2017, flac,


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