Review Summary: A simple, unique mixture of post-rock and instrumental-rock that is deeply captivating and extremely gorgeous.
After his brief stint with Hopesfall from 2001 to 2003, guitarist/bassist Chad Waldrup departed from the band to pursue other interests. He had been only been a part of one album with Hopesfall during that time, The Satellite Years
, but it proved to be arguably the band’s masterpiece: the music found on The Satellite Years
, was heavy, jagged and progressive, but it was also dense with melody and saturated with ambiance. Chad Waldrup would inherit the softer elements of Hopesfall and release a one-man post-rock album, to which he titled …Of Sinking Ships. Sadly, it proves to be his only effort so far, as I believe it’s some of the strongest and most stimulating post-rock I have ever had the chance of listening to.
In essence, …Of Sinking Ships is all about layers of guitar sounds and noises. Nearly every song on this album is absolutely soaked in guitar parts, while the bass and drums are kept relatively simple and straight-forward. The end result is a very clean, simple sound in the background, but the layers of guitars swirling over top create such a radiant foreground that oozes of melody and resonance. By creating a complex, layered sound with guitars, Chad Waldrup manages to create an immensely beautiful musical atmosphere that is just so captivating, fresh and alluring. It’s absolutely addicting to listen to every song found on the album, as every track has some means of sucking you in with its uplifting disposition and gorgeous, catchy melodies.
A big factor that makes …Of Sinking Ships stand out from other post-rock bands is that it’s more structured like instrumental rock, in that there’s more of a verse-chorus-verse structure rather than the typical method of building up to a climax. The structures of the album have a lot of variety and drive, which works out extremely well thanks to the simple rhythm section, and the layers of beautiful guitar melodies never let up at all during the progressions. There seems to be an absolute perfect mix of drive and melody on this album, as all the progressions of the rhythm section feel natural and help each song drive home a climax, while the surging, whirling guitars never sound boring or out of place.
For those who wish to sample …Of Sinking Ships, one doesn’t have to look much further than the album’s opening track, “The Last Signal”: Chad establishes a beautiful, simple melody from the get go, and slowly the track begins its drive towards the brisk, melodic chorus that’s found several times throughout the song. The song progresses beautifully, touching upon the opening melody again, before crashing into the climatic outro. It’s a perfect example of how the album displays vibrant splashes of harmony and melody over top of a moving song structure that never seems to stagnate.
I’m actually profoundly surprised by how much I enjoy this record. I purchased it back in 2006, and it still moves me even though I’ve listened to it over and over again during past couple of years. Chad Waldrup has created a truly unique and beautiful post-rock album that sports plenty of drive and creativity, and I really hope that this isn’t his only offering that be bestows upon the post-rock community.