The Calm Blue Sea – [Album]

Friday, 05 August 2011

Everyone is getting a history lesson before we get into this record. The Calm Blue Sea is a four-piece group out of Austin, TX which originally formed back in 2007. They released a six-song album in 2008, followed by the score to Siegfried in 2009. Now, in 2011, the band has gone back to that first six-song album, completely remastered it with two extra tracks and reissued it with better distribution.

There's an almost a genuinely calming effect to The Calm Blue Sea for the first thirty-six seconds when you first put the album, before the waves roll in. I have always taken to referring to this type of music as “headphone music” – that style of music which is constructed for late nights when you just want to put headphones on, lay back and lose yourself in the textures of fuzz-ified guitars and the sizzle of a cymbal or two. The Calm Blue Sea will have many labels thrown at it – post-rock, instrumental rock, experimental rock – and the band itself will be compared to some of the greats in the genre (Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mogwai) and all of those labels and comparisons fit very nicely to what these guys are trying to get across to us; this is a very different type of rock.

The only vocals performed on the entire album are in the first few minutes of the beautiful yet brutal “Literal,” and the rest of the album’s lush, instrumental tracks are left open open by the band to their listeners' own imaginative drawings. The Calm Blue Sea have mastered the “Quiet, Loud, Quiet” formula like no other post rock group has done in the last decade; they just don’t hint at it, they beat you down with their torrential ebb and flow, and is it ever effective. At about seven minutes into “Now Those Ashes Are At the Bottom,” the song is complete noise, but you still seem to hear and feel the harmonious beauty of it while, on the other end of the tonal spectrum, “This Will Never Happen Again” begins with clean guitar and recorded voice in the background before evolving and building in majesty with bass, cymbals, drums, swirling keyboards and layers and layers of guitars. The width and breadth of the band's sound as showcased here is beautiful, right till the last piece of emotional textured feedback.

To try and sum up The Calm Blue Sea with a few words at the end would almost do the album a disservice. I will say this: if you dig a record that takes you on a chaotic journey from your day-to-day life to a noise-filled paradise of layered guitars and drums, this album is for you.



The Calm Blue Sea's self-titled album is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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