Review Summary: This Is My Ship is 46 minutes of some of the catchiest, entertaining, and most dynamic music you will ever hear.
I struggled trying to put this review together. I tried digging into the history of Dartz!, but there really isn't one. I tried highlighting the original aspects of their style, but aside from standout musicianship and lyrcism overall, there are lots bands that sound like this. Then, I tried breaking down what exactly makes each and every song on this album so fresh, exciting, and entertaining each play through, but I came up with no worthy set of words to back that up.
So, instead, I'll just be honest and try to avoid the standard review cliches.
This Is My Ship is, simply put, a really, really, really good album.
It's rare that an album can retain a similar style and sound throughout and still remain fresh for the entire duration. But Dartz! created something here that is both timeless and rested comfortably in the period it was made. At a time before a new wave of emo brought about the return of the "twinkly" guitar, Dartz! made a callback to the emo of the 90's (American Football, Capt'n Jazz, God's Reflex) while fusing it with the indie rock of the modern era (Weatherbox, Meet Me in St. Louis, Johnny Foreigner). The result is a constantly changing landscape of sound, twinkly guitars shimmering in every direction, and extremely abstract lyricism. But don't fret, this album is in no way a tough nut to crack. Most of the songs on the album are drenched in catchy, fun pop melodies that will get you nodding along every time. At the same time however, the pop melodies are often contrasted with aggressive vocals, most notable in the song "Prego Triangolos", where the abstract lyricism I mentioned above stands out the most.
"You have three sides, but you're not a triangle. You have three sides, but you are a square"
The band is constantly shifting gears, despite sticking to the same twinkly-soaked guitar sound. In the song "Cold Holidays", we see some experimental, dance-punky guitar work, in "St. Petersburg", the pop melodies with just a touch of aggression stand out, and after 8 minutes of silence on the final track, "The Lives of Authors", we hear a post-rock hidden song. It's this constantly shifting dynamic that makes this album so fresh and re-listenable every time I come back to it.
To me, this is the quintessential indie/math rock album of the modern time. It's accessible at first listen, yet has so much buried beneath and so much constantly changing that you can find something new to appreciate each time you return to it. Whether it's a twang you didn't hear the first time around, or a strange lyric that finally clicks in your head, or an influence you can finally clearly hear through the sound, this album is a near perfect showcase of never-tiring songs.
I ask you to give this album a listen, even if you aren't typically a fan of the genre. It's an overlooked gem that never quite got the credit it deserved. Absolutely anyone can find something to enjoy in This Is My Ship.