Surround yourself in love... or another emotion with less optimistic connotations
American ensemble The World Concave are setting sail on a new musical voyage, with "Harbor" the name of their vessel. This is an intriguing emotional excursion, but do be aware that this is unlikely to leave you with a brighter outlook on life and you will probably be glad to get home. This by no means an uneventful adventure, but the overall mood here is far from positive.
Setting the tone for the album, '4:44 A.M.' therapeutically massages the listener's ears and subtly builds with layer upon layer of reverb-soaked vocals. The reverse snare drum effect, however, treads a very fine line between being effective and distracting. Only personal taste will dictate whether it is the former or the latter. Despite a lengthy introduction, 'Jehovah's Witness Protection Program' proves to be one of the strongest tracks of the album. The heavy emphasis on rhythm adds substantial excitement, with the song also climaxing very effectively indeed. Traces of the previous track's spirited style seem to have leaked into 'I Sold My Life,' helping to sustain momentum. The ad-lib piano style works well and the reverse effects are managed impressively.
By the time the album reaches 'Personal Day,' the vehicle seems to have run dry of fuel. The electronic drum timbres added are at first refreshing, but the composition lacks ambition and there is ultimately little to write home about. Typical rock ballad 'Holiday' builds colourfully and the well-harmonised vocals of singer Craig Cirinelli particularly impress. The tones of the acoustic and electric guitars combine beautifully and the eventual addition of the drums feels very natural. The segue into 'Digging the Honest Dirt' is absolutely seamless, with the welcome return of guest pianist Bob McHugh also remaining very discreet. Rounding off the album is the drifting instrumental track 'The Farthest Reefs We Reach;' a relatively uneventful track with the exception of two unbefitting fills from drummer Dan Nolan that seem to spawn from nowhere. We all love a good drum solo and/or fill, but unfortunately this is not the right time or place.
At seven tracks in length, "Harbor" feels more like an EP than an album. However, extending the album unnecessarily could have had detrimental consequences and the 31 minute duration seems suitably restrained. The World Concave run the risk of being swept under the rug like so many implacable alternative acts, but if you approach "Harbor" with the appropriate mindset, this album could actually be of great appeal.