Unsparing Sea, In the Crystal Canyon EP

Unsparing Sea, In the Crystal Canyon EP

On In the Crystal Canyon, the follow-up release to the band’s A Cloud in the Cathedral LP, Unsparing Sea doesn’t just stick to the basics, but includes a cello and an upright bass, for a more orchestral sound; think The Arcade Fire. Unsparing Sea even use a vox, vibraphone, flugelhorn, and a saw.

At times, the music takes on a jazzy feel, but with the accordion and banjo it mostly floats around on an indie scale with shaky vocals and songs that change halfway through. J.R. Bennet’s wavering, high-pitched voice is very captivating and hard to ignore. It carries the weight of the songs, but cannot always be deciphered lyrically.

Bennet and cellist Tara Klein started the band in 2007 and released an LP for their debut. Klein plays in the Akron Symphony Orchestra and has performed with famous musicians, so her wide range of experience aids the band at accomplishing the classical-yet-modern sound they strive for. Though this EP is short, with only four songs, it is memorable, catchy, and begs to be blasted in the car.

Tracks one and two are from soon-to-come album In the Diamond Caverns, while tracks three and four are B-sides. The latter two, in my opinion, are also the better two. Track one, “Wolves at a Wedding,” sings “Let’s kill the king,” followed by mysterious howls, while track two, “Diamond Caverns,” has a memorable cello bridge. Track three, “Dear Playwright,” follows the “you could be this, I could be that” lyrics we’ve heard so many times, but it holds their originality with the strings, especially the little medley at the end.

The last song, “All I Want,” has a series of back up “woo”s, following in the same vein as those in the Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil”; this number, however, accompanies them with an organ. All the lyrics are a bit odd, perhaps mythical, but it doesn’t seem to matter what he’s saying because the music is so beautiful and uplifting.

(Broke. Tusk. Collective -- 1261 W. Clifton Blvd., Lakewood, OH. 44107; http://www.myspace.com/broketusk; Unsparing Sea -- http://www.unsparingsea.com/)

Review by . Review posted Thursday, June 3rd, 2010. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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