The Rickety Old Shack

Sailors With Wax Wings — Sailors With Wax Wings

Sailors With Wax Wings - Sailors With Wax Wings, cover

By no means a new release, Sailors With Wax Wings is an extremely obscure project from a collective of prolific, albeit extremely unknown musicians. The only reason I even knew of this group was because I was looking into the other projects members of Krallice had been involved in. The term "experimental post-rock" is one of the least helpful descriptors of music, so all I knew — prior to diving into the unknown — was that this project would likely be a weird, extremely diverse mix of sounds and ideas.

On that front, Sailors With Wax Wings does not disappoint; this record is a heady mix of material, covering a broad spectrum of sound. Atmospheric riffing, looming synths and haunting, reverb-heavy vocal passages punctuate a largely instrumental offering. The assorted instrumentation on this record is impressive, the cellos that close out "There Came A Drooping Maid With Violets," the various backing synths and audio samples, and sprinkles of piano serve the mood-building of each track well.

While certainly in a similar vein as Explosions In The Sky and Godspeed You Black Emperor, this project is a lot more guitar-based in their sound than the aforementioned acts. Sailors With Wax Wings prove themselves capable of constructing engaging, emotional atmospheres on this album, while still giving the material a harder, more metallic feeling than other post-rock acts. The flourishes of tremolo picking and doomy, distorted guitars lending just a bit more of an edge — contrasting the soft, melodic passages.

As with a lot of experimental records, Sailors With Wax Wings is somewhat daunting to adequately describe to the uninitiated. It's a little easier if one has at least a cursory familiarity with the post-rock genre: non-traditional song structures, soundtrack-like compositions and broad range of influences melded together on very long tracks. Sailors With Wax Wings present a broad, creative exercise helmed by some exceptionally proficient song-writers and musicians. Although the album is broken into separate tracks, each feels like part of a greater whole.

Unlike a lot of post-rock acts, the songs on this album aren't inordinately long; the second track, and the album's closer "Strange That I Should Have Grown So Suddenly Blind" clock in at ~9 and ~10 minutes, respectively, but the other six tracks are all 6 minutes or less. For an experimental record, Sailors With Wax Wings doesn't spend excessive amounts of time on ambient interludes and slow, tenuous mood-building. There is precious time wasted on this record, in spite of vast, droning nature of these tracks. Everything on this album is so cohesive and well paced, that before you know it, the brooding opener,"Soft Gardens Near The Sun, Keep Your Distant Beauty," is over, and you're in the middle of the spacey vocal refrains of "Yes, I Have A Thousand Tongues, And Nine And Ninety-Nine Lie" — track number five.

There is really nothing to nitpick on this record; Sailors With Wax Wings offer up a quality selection of material from a disparate group of underground talent. The bonafides of each member are well documented, should one feel inclined to look into them. The project delivers an engaging, well-crafted collection of experimental post-rock tunes with this record; while far from the most commercially accessible work, the massive sound isn't abrasive or unsettling. Perhaps this is a bit pretentious, but Sailors With Wax Wings is a reward for listeners with a broad palate and an open mind. The material takes its time settling in, but the compositions are well worth the neccessary investment of time.

Summary

An obscure project, but worth every bit of attention it gets. Sailors With Wax Wings features members of groups such as Krallice, Pyramids and countless other artists who are every bit as talented as they are unknown to the world at large. This record is a combination of progressive music genres, melded into a melodic, emotionally tense soundscape spanning 8 incredible tracks. Difficult to describe, but relatively easy to appreciate, this project is absolutely worth a look — if you're into experimental, progressive genres then there's plenty to be gleaned from this release.

Album Information

Release date: October 5th, 2010
Record label: Angel Oven Records

R. Loren — vocals
J. Leah — vocals
Ted Parsons — drums
Simon Scott — electronics
Aidan Baker — guitar
Colin Marston — guitar
Vern Rumsey — bass
Prurient — noise, electronics
James Blackshaw — piano
Hildur Gudnadottir — cello

Track Listing

  1. Soft Gardens Near The Sun, Keep Your Distant Beauty
  2. There Came A Drooping Maid With Violets
  3. If I Should Cast Off This Tattered Coat
  4. And Clash And Clash Of Hoof And Heel
  5. Yes, I Have A Thousand Tongues, And Nine And Ninety-Nine Lie
  6. God Fashioned The Ship Of The World Carefully
  7. There Was One Who Sought A New Road
  8. Strange That I Should Have Grown So Suddenly Blind

—by Derek

Published: December 8, 2015