Darwin & The Dinosaur

A Thousand Ships

Written by: LF on 21/03/2015 19:02:23

It's only been about a year since I first heard of British post-punk band Darwin & The Dinosaur through their "Remus" EP, the opening track of which, "I Said Goodbye", I still haven't forgotten for its feverish atmosphere, excellent melodies, and determined but still catchy riffs. "A Thousand Ships" is marketed as their first full-length album but in reality it could just as well be released as a new EP. The length of the entire thing is 24 minutes but out of the ten tracks it contains, four of them are instrumental interludes with twinkly guitars that seem to be there only to provide space around the other songs and keep the tempo of the album down in contrast with some of the very heavy-hitting riffs the new songs contain.

D&TD are still very good at writing memorable hooks that you can find yourself humming absentmindedly when they've first found their way into your head. Still, none of the songs on their debut album are quite good enough to really make a mark on their own and as a unit the album seems too uncertain of its direction, floating here and there, in no way helped by the standstill quality of the interludes. While every song has some strong melodic riffs in it, the dynamics between the different parts of the songs are mostly not as interesting as I had hoped they would be on this release.

"Riff Town Population: You" stands out as one of the most well-structured pieces then, dominated by busy guitars, buzzing bass and the firm singing voice of their vocalist. It is also one of the more gritty songs of the album which sees the vocalist pushing his voice almost to a scream in several parts, showing us some nuances to his voice in the process which are a welcome input. Like too many of the songs on this album, however, it is also very linear and uneventful in its development, even as it represents a highlight here due to its successful hooks.

While "Making Friends With Strangers" and "Theories" are both as gritty as "Riff Town Population: You", they're also heavier than what I've otherwise heard from the band, with guitar layers building up ominous soundscapes on top of some very insisting drum and bass patterns. In contrast, "Make Believe" and "Hand In Hand" are dominated by a generally softer and more emo-tinged atmosphere in their more intricate guitar work. Thus, even as none of the songs here are exactly screaming to be played on my stereo again and again in the near future, the record does show us some different sides of the band's sound – a sound that I still really like even as I continue hoping that D&TD will write some more infectious songs in the future.


Download: Riff Town Population: You, Hand In Hand
For The Fans Of: Crash of Rhinos, Turnover, Boy Jumps Ship, Ducking Punches
Listen: facebook.com/ darwinandthedinosaur

Release date 09.03.2015
No Panic! Records

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