Let’s face it—the closest anyone is ever going to get to an Attack in Black reunion is on a Marine Dreams record. Ian Kehoe’s debut featured all the members of the band, though this time Spencer Burton is absent and Daniel Romano doubles as the producer. Adding to the cast, though, is the incomparable Tamara Lindeman, who continues to be one of the most affecting female vocalists in the country.
Corner of the Eye also has a much more focused sound than the eponymous Marine Dreams record. While a sudden jaunt into intense territory a la “Sudden Dark Truths” would have been welcome, it’s also good to hear consistency in sound. Apparently this came from the quicker nature of the recording process, and the result is a record that sonically wouldn’t have sounded too out of place in the late sixties and early seventies with its dreamy overtones.
But at its core is a simple combination of guitar, bass and drum machines, as well as more vocal harmonies than can be counted. Thematically, it tackles human relationships, whether these are romantic or just in the sense of one human being looking for friendship with another human being.
A pairing of songs toward the end, “How Can I Be So Misunderstood” and “I Won’t Be Abandoned” deal especially with that feeling of loneliness. The former is a song full of self-pity, while the latter sees the narrator attempting to overcome that feeling. The latter also manages to distinguish itself by opening with a flute courtesy of Lindeman.
Vocally, the album’s brightest point comes in “Roots Come After Lengthy Waits,” a song wherein every line is sung in harmony, and the delivery really illustrates the deep longing the narrator feels when, following repeating the song title several times, he adds, “Then I’d better keep on waiting.” The harmonies are also pleasing in opener “Faces,” accompanied by shimmery guitar chords that further emphasize the dreamy introspection of this record.
Despite the sunny nature of the music and the accompanying warmth, the subject matter is especially melancholy. Sometimes all it takes to convey these emotions, in Marine Dreams’ case, is a few good voices and some simple instrumentals.
Top Tracks: “Straight Path”; “Roots Come After Lengthy Waits”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)