Four mesmeric flights flooded with celestial hauntings and shoegaze fascination, the Skyliner EP from UK band Desert Ships is as both band and release names suggest, an expansive and sultrily aired adventure. A release which is cinematic in its touch on the imagination and warmly sensuous in its lure on the senses, Skyliner shimmers and radiates like a mix of The Horrors, House Of Love, and Brian Jonestown Massacre with just a tinge of Inspiral Carpets for spicy measure. To be honest that is still a loose description of the psychedelic fuelled exploration found within the release but a good starting point for something distinct to Desert Ships.
Formed in 2012, the London trio of Mikey (vocals/guitar), Daniel (bass/vocals), and Claude (drums/vocals) swiftly sparked attention and acclaim with the release of their debut album that same year. The Mark Gardener (ex- Ride) produced Doll Skin Flag soon drew regular comparisons to the likes of Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Flaming Lips, Tame Impala, and occasionally the film scores of John Barry. Its success was backed by the band’s equally praised live presence which saw them tour with bands such as The Prodigy, Band of Skulls, The Rifles, and Babyshambles as well as play numerous festivals over the past couple of years. Reuniting with Gardener again in the studio, Desert Ships now unveil their new EP, a release taking its predecessor as a launch pad for broader and more expressive aurally visual experiences.
The release opens with its epic title track, a seven minute plus excursion into magnetic harmonies, sonic exploration, and fuzzy show gaze seducing. From its first breath there is a fresh and smouldering temptation at work, guitar coaxing the lead into a weave of vocal harmonies and expression from across the band. That in turn is cradled by a tapestry of keys bred elegance and enterprise. The song emerges as a gentle maelstrom of gripping ideation and aural fascination, the vocals as varied and riveting as the spatial grooves and rhythmic shuffle courting their narrative whilst every immersive note is an exotic kiss upon the senses. Like soaring through a refreshingly muggy landscape, the track is enthralling leaving body and emotions submerged in blissful exploration.
The slightly slimmer length of Shell Shock is no less eventful next, embracing ears with a synth pop spiced temptation straight away. Laying down an eighties flavoured yet modern canvas of melodic hues, bands like China Crisis, Modern English, and The Flaming Lips coming to mind, the track croons with cosmic lustre and psychedelic colour. Again the imagination is sparked by and emotions immersed in an ethereal tapestry of sound and voice, the song the perfect pop proposition. It is a description which almost applies to the following Heart Beats and it’s more grounded but no less transfixing splendour too, though the magnetic offering does not quite have the infectious glow and compelling grandeur of its predecessor. All the same the feistier track is a masterfully and enticingly grooved invitation which is hard to resist as it reveals further shades and turns in the band’s creativity.
Skyliner is concluded by another epic holding of ears with its longest and relentlessly suggestive track, Ausgang. Somewhere between cheerfully funereal and livelily meditative, the persistent breeze of sonic and melodic enticing is a vibrantly repetitive affair which probably outstays its welcome but still provides an instrumental soundscape to create imaginative tales within. Though the EP is not one of two halves, like the previous track the closer lacks something of the first pair of songs but has plenty to entice and feed an already keen appetite for release and band.
Desert Ships has provided a treat of an encounter which is at its stunning best at the start and whilst slipping a level of persuasion or two in its latter part, perpetually leaves expectations and anticipation of big things from and for the band ahead rife. Ultimately Skyliner is a gorgeous flight which more than deserves a full investigation.
The Skyliner EP is available now @ http://desertships.bandcamp.com/
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