steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Fjord Rowboat

"Saved the Compliments For Morning" CD


Genre: shoegazer, indie rock, rock

June 2008

Fjord Rowboat's debut album would feel right at home on Nettwerk Records. Its dreamy yet charged shoegazer sound recalls the last Ivy record, some material on the Words on Music label, and the latest from personal favourite The Brother Kite. While these guys don't seem to have the melodic fluency of more established acts, they do know how to charge their music with a serious amount of energy - this stuff must sound really great live. And if you stick with it long enough, the songs really do unfold well - there are many moments on this disc that will leave committed listeners breathless.

That said, I find some of these songs a tad generic, particularly in the vocals (Minus The Bear-esque "Carried Away," "Shootin' the Breeze"). This could confer an increased chance at mainstream acceptance - the crisp production and tight instrumentation assisting the band's accessibility - or, alternatively, destine Fjord Rowboat to the forgotten annals of rock homogeneity. Despite the familiar nature of many of the album's tracks, a solid song like "Can't See The Sun" is always appreciated, with the band's lush yet dark delivery propelling things forward well. Meanwhile, other tracks like "Simply Stood" and wonderful, My Bloody Valentine-esque "Paragon" deserve accolade. Still, parts of Saved the Compliments For Morning leave something to be desired - particularly in the somewhat dragging latter half of the record.

I suppose my main criticism when looking at this disc is that it sticks too much to one sound - and not one that hasn't been done before. Fjord Rowboat would benefit from an increase in variety - both between the songs, and as compared against other bands of their ilk. While Saved the Compliments is still a cohesive, melodic, and enjoyable listen, work needs to be done before the follow-up. Still, for a shoegazey rock album in the Clairecords and 4AD vein, this is a very solid start for a young band.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 10 tracks, 42:43, distributed by the band, released 2007]