Sad Sailor – “Link to the Outside World”

Seven-piece outift Sad Sailor turn out three competent drone-rock tracks in this 28-minute EP, mostly focused on the progression familiar to all– the slow plunge from layered noodling into sweaty chaos. Unfortunately, Sad Sailor’s focus is too intent on this outcome, with little other emotional range apparent excepting a lovely section opening the EP.

Sad Sailor \

And it’s too bad. For the first three minutes or so, Sad Sailor surround the listener with subtly-mingled guitar lines, watery cello, and floating peaks of occasional noise. It’s nothing astoundingly new, just rather well-done, with effortless shoring up of one another’s phrases that shows a real bond between players. The trumpet kicks in, and the whole thing lifts off… if a bit predictably. Even the false end to first track “Juice the Room” fails to surprise, like watching James Brown do the cape routine for the fifteenth time.

That’s why it’s odd when “Juice the Room” is suddenly cut off, and “Radiant Evil” begins– especially given how it almost immediately launches into the same trip the first track took us on at about the five-minute mark. Another lift-off into 4/4 time, but this one seems stuck somewhere in the middle stage throughout. Sad Sailor seem to think it a dud, so why not reset and try again?

At this point, you’re really wondering what the purpose is. “Down at Weirdo Park” rolls back the tape, gets a bit of momentum, and aims squarely at the “let’s blend some guitars together over drum and bass while the trumpet solos” territory so thoroughly juiced in the first track. Listeners shouldn’t be surprised to find only pulp and rind here.

I guess this is the modern day equivalent of one of those generic 60’s surf records; it is serviceable, but too predicable and staid to elicit much serious reaction. For such competent players, and the Eh? label who generally have such fantastic releases, this all seems like setting the bar a bit low. Even for the relatively short duration of this disc, Sad Sailor hold the ecstatic playing too long, ultimately depriving “Link to the Outside World” of necessary emotional contrast that would have sharpened the whole.

For kicks, here’s Ampersand Etcetera’s review of the same. Never say I’m not a giving person!

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