Souvenir's Young America
"An Ocean Without Water"

(Crucial Blast 2007)Souvenir\'s Young America - An Ocean Without Water

Listening to "An Ocean Without Water," the sophomore effort by Souvenir's Young America, one can picture the band conceiving and writing the album on a dark, lonely highway somewhere between the Middle of Nowhere and the End of the Road. The six desolate tracks are crafted such that the album is almost cinematic. This is what it would have sounded like if Neurosis had composed the soundtrack to the excellent Australian Western "The Proposition."

Completely devoid of vocals, "An Ocean Without Water" is filled (or, more appropriately, thinned) out using electronics, drums, electric geetar, and a harmonica that absolutely does not suck. Everything is arranged sparingly but effectively. The electronics are earthy and soulful rather than bright and corny. The drums, when used, are almost tribal, driving the songs along forcefully. The guitar work here is mostly bluesy-slide-type-sort-of, but crunches in rather brutally when need be. Nothing is overplayed or forced; each song progresses naturally, almost casually, sucking the listener in without beating them over the head.

The problem with music this sparse is that is can have a tendency to wander into the dreaded Background Music Zone. Souvenir's Young America are almost guilty of this a few times on "An Ocean Without Water," most notably on the meandering "Dark was the Night, Cold was the Ground." Thankfully, they follow it up with the groove-laden "The Sheltering Sky," reeling us right back in before drifting away completely. This is the album's greatest strength: balancing both heavy and ethereal music with the empty spaces in between.

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