Album Review: Tall Ships – Everything Touching

By on Wednesday, 26th September 2012 at 12:00 pm

Tall Ships’ debut record ‘Everything Touching’ represents the collective toil of three men from Falmouth with exceptional talent, both in the studio and live, as anyone who caught their headline set at Reading and Leeds Festival’s BBC Introducing stage will know.

They’ve been paying their dues since around 2008 and it only seems fair that a chance at the big time is theirs for the taking. The band consists of Ric Phethean on lead vocals and guitar, Matt Parker on bass and Jamie Bush on drums. In this record they have quite obviously just got the book, thrown it out of the window, gone downstairs, stamped on the book some more and then finally burnt said book to cinders. In a valiant attempt to be original, the songs pay no attention to any kind of musical conformity. While some bands around at the moment are doing quirky for quirkiness’s sake, these guys pull it off brilliantly. They haven’t attempted to be original, they goddamn have, and a big pat on the back for them for doing so!

The opening song of the album is a testament to this, in track ‘T=0’. There’s no dogmatic chorus, rinse repeat; no, instead the track is played out over a rattling repeater of a guitar riff that stinks of the kind of DIY ingenuity that this band hammer down throughout the record. Phethean’s vocals creep into the track midway through, but by then you’ve already got your foot stomping so hard to Parker and Bush’s frothing engine room of a bass/drum combo.


‘Phosphorescence’ reeks of their math rock credibility. They’re like a Foals before they started singing about “Cassius, it’s over”. The hammering bass in the song moves the track along and there’s even a hint of xylophone if you didn’t feel like you were in a secondary school classroom doing algebra already. ‘Oscar’ brings a groovy kind of funkadelic beat to the equation (see what I did there) and Phethean’s guitar is the centre point of the song, working in a way that makes me think of Mexican banditos. Go figure? This music does mad things with your mind. Mad kind of good though I may add! But then it goes from that to a strongly building crescendo, a really brilliant crescendo.

‘Ode To Ancestors’ is as beautiful as this album gets, with Phethean crooning how a girl is “a triumph of natural selection / every mutation leading to your perfection”. It’s a song more akin to a tribute to the brilliance of evolution and Darwinism than a tribute to a fine female, but it works all the same to make a truly stunning ballad.

A review of this album would not be complete though, without comment upon the 9-minute behemoth that is ‘Murmurtations’. It’s a triumph of the understated. Beginning subtly and building, it grows into the monstrous tune it is. An epic ending, to an unashamedly ballsy, epic and just ludicrously well-created debut album. More of the same, please.


‘Everything Touching’, the debut from Tall Ships, will be out on the 8th of October on Big Scary Monsters and Blood And Biscuits.

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