by Antiem Boyd
Small Leaks Sink Ships: Face Yourself, and Remove Your Sandals
How can I explain what’s happening with this record? Something really excellent is happening. From the first tune to the last, Small Leaks Sink Ships’ Face Yourself, and Remove Your Sandals is worth all of the vowels and consonants it takes to tell you that.
Maybe it’s Portland. Maybe it’s the wiring of each band member but Small Leaks Sink Ships just don’t seem to be following anyone’s lead. Music nerds. Sound Einsteins. A secret basement cauldron and a deal with a goblin. No matter how it’s getting produced, big brains are making this music.
Small Leaks’ earlier music was described as “math rock.” But instead of getting lost down some experimental rabbit hole, the music evolved. The weird and the wonderful have gotten polished.
A few things happened that maybe caused this massive pileup of awesome on Face Yourself, and Remove Your Sandals. Judd Hancock was diagnosed with cancer in 2011 so the record was put on hold while he recovered. Rafael Macias broke his collarbone in a Vespa accident, as one does. But all the while, Small Leaks Sink Ships were releasing a new song every Monday for 22 weeks. That’s kind of crazy. And still, there was more music in the band.
Face Yourself, and Remove Your Sandals is Small Leaks Sink Ships’s way of letting us on the inside. Of the band. Of their genius.
The tracks speaks for themselves:
“Power Outage” kicks in the door and gets us started on a fantastic journey. All of the iron lung sound fx and the underwater, kind of submarine thing happening under and over the crescendo of melody. I don’t know what the hell is going on but I think Wes Anderson just took a shit in here. Completely mean that as a good thing.
“Midnight Jin” makes me feel really good that this kind of music is being made and it makes me feel like I’ve wasted my life. The song is surreal and tremendous. Shit, what’s a better word for tremendous. My thesaurus is fucking letting me down. Blue-chip? Sure.
“Yellow Bird” sounds like a Cheech & Chong comedy album is about to fire up. I love the use of practical sound in these tracks. Genius. We’re watching the film. We’re in the film.
“Orchis” is magical and what happens in Portland at twilight, I’m imagining.
“Snowball Fight Attack Formation” is just Small Leaks showing off.
“We All Die” is a properly serious track worthy of respect and airplay.
“Building Blocks” is a darky and moody, cinematic track.
“The Devil is in the Desert” shouldn’t be a misunderstanding about pudding. It’s a soulful and heartbreaking song.
“Iceberg” has all of those elements that set Small Leaks Sink Ships apart. Sonically beautiful. Amazing track.
“The Mind is it’s Own Place” haunted and very European indie film feeling. Specifically, a French film.
Small Leaks Sink Ships Members / Instruments:
London Van Rooy – Vocals, drums, piano, samples
Judd Hancock – Vocals, guitar, cello, piano
Jim Mandel – Bass, guitar
Ryan Garner – Piano, samples, guitar
Judd Hancock and LondonVan Rooy
Face Yourself, and Remove Your Sandals Tracklisting:
We All Die
The Devil Is In The Desert
The Mind Is Its Own Place
“Live At the Sail Inn”