Five years after their first EP was released, English band The Pirate Ship Quintet have finally released their debut album, 2012's Rope for No-Hopers. But how well does it hold up in comparison to the modern post-rock scene?
Right from the get-go, it sounds like they're trying to re-create that symphonic-based minimalist sound of the Montréal post-rock scene, mixed with just a hint of the traditional halfheartedly ironic indie sound thrown in for good measure. I'm just not convinced that they've succeeded at doing it well. Instead of dense, layered, cathartic, and moving pieces, the music here just sounds lackadaisical, almost plodding along without much interest or effort. It has a habit of dragging on for far too long without actually accomplishing much of anything, and by the fifth time you've checked the timestamps to see if the song's over yet, they're only halfway done with the song. It's like they're not even attempting to hold your attention, and it definitely shows--listening to this album feels like a chore, not a pleasure.
And even on those few moments of rare enjoyment to be found on this album, the music isn't particularly original. Though it's quite capably performed, there's no doubt about that, the ideas behind it are all very derivative, and The Pirate Ship Quintet haven't added much in the way of embellishment to make them stand out amongst their peers. The pieces are entirely predictable, and not in the desirable way usually expected from the genre--it just feels like you're calling the shots for ten minutes at a time, and it's not particularly fulfilling in that regard. The songs just seem to blend together into a formless pile of sound, drifting in one ear and coming right back out the other, leaving you with a constant sense of dissatisfaction.
Uncompromising fans of the Constellation indie/post-rock sound or fans of Denovali's usual output will probably still find something to like about this album, but it takes an almost unreasonable amount of patience to listen to, let alone enjoy. I just can't help but feel that I could get the same feeling, only better realized, by listening to A Silver Mt. Zion or sleepmakeswaves. I don't want to come across as somehow portraying The Pirate Ship Quintet as a bad band, because they're not. If nothing else, this album shows that they definitely have potential. It seems as though they just haven't quite realized it just yet.
6.0 / 10
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