There are two things in this world that just can't seem to get along: a cohesive album and Sea of Worry.
This time around, HANL seems to have dived belly-first into the cold waters of the Sea of Worry with little sense of direction. With respects to coherency, it seems to be this album's Achilles Heel, blurring a lot of the great ideas it had going for it with its teaser tracks. While HANL may deliver commendable lyrical moments and solid performances here and there, the result is still a rather bloated, bland and tedious album that's hit-or-miss even with an acceptable run-time of just over 45 minutes.
I had my hopes up high going into this. As someone who adored their previous two records and found myself loving 3 of the 4 singles that dropped, it was looking like Sea of Worry would be a very intriguing, fresh new direction for the band that'd leave an undeniable, satisfying addition to their discography thus far. Tracks like Sea of Worry and Lords of Tresserhorn were incredibly remarkable singles that stood among some of my favorite singles of the year!
But cracks started to show as more and more singles released. After hearing all the tracks individually and seeing all they had to offer, I found myself scratching my head. With all these various, different ideas and concepts in each track, I wondered how exactly this was all going to tie together as a full cohesive album piece. Containing just 7 tracks, it didn't seem like the puzzle pieces were coming together.
And it seems that most of my worries have been fulfilled with Sea of Worry. An album with great songs and ideas that unfortunately doesn't hold its own weight. These 7 tracks may sound fine on their own, but have no chemistry with each other. It's unfortunate to say that tracks I initially loved as singles start to rot significantly in context with the record. With repeated listens, it makes these songs so much less tolerable even on their own.
In terms of album structure, Sea of Worry is more like a cake made up entirely of Sriracha Sauce, bacon, M&M chocolates, frozen durian, kiwi, maple syrup and cooked earthworms. Instead of separating the individual ingredients and flavors into separate pieces, you put it all together as one. While most of them taste pretty nice on their own, they're really gross when put together. After taking a bite of it, you lose your appetite and don't feel like touching any of these foods for a week.
It's by no means impossible to put together an incredibly satisfying and great all-over-the-place project, but what HANL tried to attempt on Sea of Worry only resulted in a boring, forgettable record that wears on you quick. With vocally and instrumentally drained moments on tracks like "Dracula Bells" or "Trespassers W", lengthy cuts such as "Destinos" with opening dialogue that sounds more pretentious than dense and full of depth, and occasionally gross instrumentation choices, it's a disappointingly average release to say the least.
I originally had a fun Clam Eater 3000 review planned for this album, but this was just so flavorless that it really wasn't worth it.
FAV TRACKS: Sea of Worry, Lords of Tresserhorn
LEAST FAV TRACKS: Destinos, Everything We Forget