reviewed by Michael Thomas
It doesn’t take much to appreciate the deep sadness inherent in the latest from ocean charter of values. There’s the fact that it was recorded in a dilapidated studio in Nova Scotia; there’s the title that acknowledges that your heroes will not always stand the test of time. It’s clear that this was an emotionally exhausting work to produce for Nicholas Laugher and co.; it’s a musical wellspring of sadness.
Which is of course to say that it’s an expansive, deeply melancholy, cathartic work. Much like the music of Black Walls, ocean charter of values builds its emotional core out of longer instrumental pieces, though the latter adds mournful, echoing vocals into the mix. From the opening whirring synths of “oh my” and the way Laugher draws out the word “woah,” the listener is in for a wave of feelings.
When it’s not spooky synths doing their job, there’s lo-fi guitar, like in “darts.” There’s obviously no escape from the pain, and it brings to mind images of a campfire song gone wrong. In a few cases, Laugher introduces spoken-word segments. In “wind charms,” he uses islands and water asa metaphor for the body, before reminding the listener that “this is all going to slip away.”
Perhaps the purest expression of utter pain is “mozart’s starling,” an eerie, haunting number featuring a repeating, unsettling line of synths and mournful vocals from Laugher. The seven minutes of the song seem to fly by as it creates a perfectly melancholy atmosphere.
Drone and ambient music seems the perfect outlet for Laugher. These meditative pieces, brought to life as “tiny shards of light taken from scraps of memories,” show that music can truly heal.
Top Track: “mozart’s starling”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)