Ahh, Sea of Worry, the ultimate “Hey, what if we tried this?” Where the band delves into new territory, while not forgetting their roots, only to create a horrific amalgamation of 7 tracks, which aren’t abysmal in their individual sense, but come together to create the most disappointing album I’ve heard for some time.
Devoid of substance, quirk, and punch, Sea of Worry is HANL’s venture into punk. Which I can’t even say is incredibly new, TUW had plenty of punk elements that I think not only came off to be more tasteful, but actually interesting, and that just highlights one glaring issue of this record. It is so empty and hollow of anything that made them special, instead, HANL embraces the watered down cliches of their past works (even with one of these songs being a polished up demo!) in the most unusual ways. Not unusual in a fun sense either, I mean in the sense that the ideas they tried simply do not create cohesive songs that are refreshing or gratifying to sit through.
Furthermore, let me just take the song Destinos (and let’s pretend it isn’t just a default Earthmover).
This track is 13 minutes, just on a glance, it’s supposed to be your booming closer. Yet we get a 3 minute intro that really just reads as pretentious, because unless there’s some deep diving lyric interpretation I need to do, the snippet really doesn’t come off as having a direct purpose to me. It’s a minuscule detail though, as after that we get 9 minutes of bland and recycled drums and melancholy guitars that move at such a slow and difficult pace...it makes it impossible to be interested in. It’s not just the instrumentation either, you would think that with a record that sounds as cleaned up and less distorted as SOW, that they would clean up Dan’s vocals to be a little more coherent? Nope, still the same reverb-drenched HANL but this time there isn’t some distant melody or motif to recite. It is just Dan mulling over a winding track that easily could’ve settled at 4-5 minutes in length, with no effort in his vocals coming across in any fashion.
If any songs come across as highlights, it really isn’t a product of creative integrity, rather that it’s songs that don’t sound like HANL at all. Science Beat really sounds like a reiteration of Grace Filled With Books form the Giles Corey S/T, and Trespassers W, again, is a recycled demo from their past tapes.
There are some peeps of quality like on Dracula Bells, which has a quite soft and touching aura to it in the first few minutes, but then devolves into...I don’t even know. I already spoke about Lords of Tresserhorn in my singles review, to where I drew the idea that it was quite literally the song you would get if you asked a fan to make their best impression of a HANL song.
Then we have the song Everything We Forget, which is a USELESS song. It’s a lull in a SEVEN TRACK ALBUM, YOU CANNOT HAVE A LULL. It’s just a woozy ambient piece that is quite honestly this album’s “Who Would Leave Their Son out in the Sun?” only a lot less intriguing. It would make sense of there was a need for a cooldown, but based on this albums lack of excitement? No need.
Sad times...was genuinely looking forward to this. I have no malice in my heart for Dan & Tim, I love them. I hope they’re well, but this album was so frustrating. I see no lane for them in this sound, and the bolder incorporations of synths and electronic work is just not going to cut it if they’re unable to come out with exciting tracks that work FOR them, nonetheless ones of a style they’re trying to dabble in...sigh.
- Favourite Tracks -
* Science Beat
* Trespassers W