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4 out of 10
Guitarist & founder of The Smash Up Vin Alfieri is clearly a busy boy as well as taking part in the Warped & Taste of Chaos tours he also writes music for movies. Looking at their tour buddies I made the presumption that it would be for the kind of films that would normally just use The Mighty Mighty Bosstones' "The Impression That I Get" (It's not just me, that song is in every teen movie of the 90's ALL OF THEM).
So when I see he has written for the American Pie Series, but Daredevil & Ghost Rider (Do you hate comics Vin Alfieri? I think you hate comics Vin Alfieri) my heart sinks a little. Before you all start shouting that this has nothing to do with the record, it's in the press release, in fact it takes up a sizeable chunk of the press release. So I'm carrying on whether that's ok with you or not.
Does anyone remember when Jason Lee was cool? He was the skateboarder in Sonic Youth's 100% video, then he was in cool films (apart from that one with Jennifer Love Hewitt, but he did get to make out with her so I'll let him off) then his TV series was ace, then he turned out to worship at the Tom Cruise temple of crazy. This could almost be forgiven except he was in Alvin and The Chipmunks, a film so terrible my friends 3 year old won't watch it (I won't tell you what she said about it but it was using words a 3 year old shouldn't know).
You think I've gone off course again, don't you? Nope. Our Vin "Performed all the music & wrote a considerable amount" In fact a full fifth of the press release is telling us about how well the soundtrack did. I wouldn't be quite so proud, we all do things we don't like to pay our mortgage, we just don't all shout about them.
So the record, it's a vague concept album based around an epic sea journey gone astray. After all I've said this should still be right up my street.
The artwork for this record is beautiful, a soft yet aggressive rendition of a mermaid calling up what I hope is either a giant octopus or in my mind a mighty Krakken, to smash a tiny little row boat with a one man perched on a choppy sea, waiting for his inevitable demise. The quality of light is stunning. It treads a wonderful line between Manowar airbrush fantasy artwork & an old painting you might find in a dank corner of a seaside pub somewhere on the north coast of England, where a man with one eye & possible wooden appendages will tell you that "There be Monsters in them thar seas."
Shame the album sounds at best like Everytime I Die & at worst, like Lostprophets, in fact fifth track To Live & Die is pretty much a Fake Sound Of Progress cover. (Well done fella, you sound like a Welshman trying to do an American accent & you are actually from New York) Or if I'm being kind, maybe You Me At Six with a far less annoying vocalist.
1. To The White Sea
2. Set Loose The Black Sail
3. Weigh The Anchored Cross
4. Compass Adrift
5. To Live & Die
6. Swimming in Circles
7. Terra Australis
8. Bloody Meridian
9. When The Sky Opens