Fjord Rowboat | Saved the Compliments for Morning (s/r)

cd_fjordFjord Rowboat package a strong, vibrant sound into a collection of indie-rock tunes more along the lines of Doves or Interpol. And they do so impressively.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The spatial dronings of Canadian quintet Fjord Rowboat are a welcome combination of diverse influences from the recent past. In their debut full-length, Saved the Compliments for Morning, Rowboat gives a fresh face to the ambient-rock genre. Their reverb-laden guitars sparkle in atmospheric metastasis, although seldom with the glory of shoe-gazing heroes My Bloody Valentine (of which they admittedly aspire). Dreamy organ pulses compliment the six-stringers well, fleshing out the faux-psychedelic colorings, and creating layered canvases for singer Craig Gloster to confidently wail. Gloster's voice is reminiscent of Jimi Goodwin's (Doves) silky, detached delivery. Within his limited range, he manages to carefully emerge from a thicket of thunderous throbs and captivate; then pull back when it's just right, letting the 'verb-soaked guitars take the lead.

The comparison with My Bloody Valentine is never more present than in the fifth track, "Paragon." Residing in the middle of the album, Gloster's vocals eerily mirror Kevin Shields' as he slides in and out of the forefront. Walls of lush guitars leave plenty to discover upon further listens.

Fjord is more than a sum of its influences; by using a concrete song structure, they apply a shoegazing aesthetic in the familiar confines of an indie-rock song. Bearing their shoegazing tendencies in mind, I feel like I must issue a disclaimer: The fundamental difference between Fjord and their predecessors is an unwillingness to do the unexpected. Fjord seems uninterested in furthering the radical invention which typified the genre at its height. They are not the cutting edge mad-scientists of tone and production one might associate with my previous allusions; instead, they package a strong, vibrant sound into a collection of indie-rock tunes more along the lines of Doves or Interpol. And they do so impressively.

These northern neighbors of ours have been playing the Toronto scene since the band's inception in 2004 and have garnered a decent amount of respect for a reportedly amazing live show. They've yet to journey to the States, and as still, shockingly unsigned (not for long). For those yearning to bathe in dripping wet guitars, ethereal keyboards, and booming bass, give Fjord Rowboat a listen. Don't let this one sail away (I couldn't help myself). B+ | Glen Elkins

RIYL: Doves, My Bloody Valentine, Interpol

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