Unsparing Sea
"A Cloud in the Cathedral"

(Self-Released 2007)Unsparing Sea - A Cloud in the Cathedral

In this computer and Internet age in which we live, self expression -- if you can call it that -- is only a click away. Practically anyone can record music and, within seconds, share it with the rest of the world. On top of that, CD replication is cheaper than ever, allowing for even your dad's embarrassing garage rock band to release their long awaited debut. But for Unsparing Sea, those modern marvels are just novelties. Both the band's "EP" and their debut full-length, "A Cloud in the Cathedral," comes in numbered (we received 1 of 250) screen printed by hand envelopes for a classy DIY touch that warms the soul. And that carefully crafted attitude with an attention to details carries over from the band's artwork and packaging to their music.

"A Cloud in the Cathedral" is loose indie folk. Strings sing out both rich, bold tones and smooth melodies throughout the album. Elsewhere instrumentation bounces by on the plucky pizzicato of "I Wasn't There, That Didn't Happen," a song distinct on the album with its relatively rocking sound, while slow and intense ballads like "A Lion with no Teeth" are evocative and sincere. Unsparing Sea keeps things light throughout, however, and purposefully jagged. Lead man J.R. Bennett's shouted vocals are indistinct, caught up in the buzzing melody of "God will Protect the Naive" while "Half of Every Year" spirals out at the end into an artsy chaos of feedback and piano.

From the moment your fingers touch Unsparing Sea's CD to the last notes of "A Cloud in the Cathedral," there is something personal and stimulating about the band. Their fragile music sounds neither off the cuff nor overly prepared. But with Unsparing Sea, you are getting the whole package -- the homegrown sound from the production to the package. For Unsparing Sea's "A Cloud in the Cathedral" this modest approach keeps their weightless music aloft.