I enjoyed Fjord Rowboat's debut,
though was taken slightly aback by its homogeneity and
derivativeness. With Under Cover of Brightness, it's clear
the troupe has been listening to a lot of Catherine Wheel,
and the result is a tight, eventful record's worth of spacey rock
music. But this time around, I'm not as bothered by what they've
borrowed, mainly because they've powered
their songs with impeccable pop hooks and blazing, dynamic
instrumentation. For proof, look no
further than track number one, "Even You
Out," which slings a gloriously
reverberating vocal melody through CW guitar soars and a Minus
The Bear-esque bassline/rhythm section. And there are plenty of
other swell rockers to zone out to -- most
notably the Spiritualized-tinged "We
Are on Time" (and its magnificent bridge)
and, in what might be the album's most
toe-tappingly taut moment, "We Both Know."
Meanwhile, album closer "Set Your Sights"
strikes the perfect balance between slick reverb and lip-licking
melody. Yes, Fjord Rowboat play poppy space-rock, and yes, you've
heard it all before. But hey -- it's
catchy, and I like it. Don't judge.