US - Maryland - Full Moon 119 - 06/11/06
Having raved about their debut album from last year, I'm now feeling at a loss for words about the second album by Wilderness, Vessel States. Having played together for ten years, and then receiving critical acclaim for their debut, why did they rush this one and end up releasing something that is frustratingly disappointing?
It's not that their sound has changed a great deal. If anything, Vessel States sounds like a backwards step, as if these songs were recorded before the mighty anthems on Wilderness. Opener "The Blood in on the Wall" is fine, and serves as a decent introduction to the album, but the first serious misstep is track two, "Beautiful Alarms" - it's just shit. The guitar line is irritating in the extreme, and the song never really sounds like it's getting anywhere.
Along with "The Blood is on the Wall" and hypnotic finale "Monumental", "Emergency" just about makes the grade, but there's a definite sense of a band treading water on all the other songs. Having perfected their sound on the debut, the repetitious tom toms and clanging guitar lines now just sound empty and lifeless, looking for a purpose.
Such a disappointment.
Copyright © 2006 Tim Clarke