|T. Griffin Coraline |
The Sea Won’t Take Long
Shiny Little Records
New York, so I've heard, is crazier than the idea that anyone cares about Destiny's Child breaking up. Packed with people, bands, and Donald Trump, it exists as a separate entity from the country that governs it. Thus its no surprise that many a band has taken refuge there to submerge themselves in old stories, historical data, and again, Donald Trump, and see what kind of music allows itself to be made. T. Griffin Coraline, relishing the idea of a good story, recorded The Sea Won't Take Long in a basement near the gowanus canal that used to be an illegal apartment for Latvian sailors that worked on ships. Latvian sailors working on ships! Egads Batman, such a story reeks of prostitutes, late night card games, and alcohol, all kinds of merry alcohol.
Unfortunately, for an album steeped in such thick history, the sea won't take long is a little light on thick-brushed story telling and heavy on the ‘ya, I've heard that before'. But for its substandard ability to conjure up any image of a Latvian sailor, there is some intricate musicianship in this album that does warrant a listen (well, a download minimum).
‘Broken Bird' cuts into the listener's ear with T. Griffin's hushed vocals backed my a myriad of instruments from taped loops to a miniature glock. ‘Submarine' rolls out like clunky version of a Mule Variations-era Tom Waits classic. This song, more than any other on the album, creates a Latvian atmosphere. Its got a sailor-esque tinge to it that would surely be appreciated by a band like the Decemberists. A palm-muted electric guitar is joined by a clanking collection of rattlers, drums, and a violin slides its lonely self behind the beats. ‘Miss Your Plane' is a Portishead-inspired, almost R&B hit that just doesn't fit on the album. Thrown in for perhaps some record executive's wife, it would be more at home on the next Jamiroquai album.
Sure, one can argue that I'm being too narrow minded and that I should overlook the New York info and look at the songs on their own. However, the album casing is cloaked in New York photos, the press sheet was all about New York and the Latvians, and the entire aura created by the band was one of a carnivalesque group of drunken sailors.
For this album to really stick with the listener, some insanely heavy bass notes would have to permeate the songs, some snare-intensive drums would thunder through the Latvian basement, and a general sense of ruckus would override the sad bastard atmosphere created by Coraline. However, as mentioned, the album deserves your ear and if you don't give it to Coraline, I'm sure he knows some Latvian sailors who could come kick your ass so you best take my advice.
- Darren Susin | 2005-06-20
|OTHER REVIEWS BY DARREN SUSIN|