Dam Ships EP Album Review

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Artist: Dam Ships
Album: Dam Ships EP
Genre: Indie, Instrumental

01. Islets
02. Flyers
03. Volkspark
04. The West
05. Find a Place, Anywhere
Listening to instrumental tracks is like coming to a musical fork in the road; where the music decides to take us and what the the final destination is?—we haven’t the faintest idea. But whatever road it takes you on, either the right or the left, the one factor that will always be constant is knowing that the journey will be one hell of a ride. And that’s sort of like listening to Montreal experimental band, Dam Ships. Songs that begin with an upbeat tone can take an unprecedented trip down a road of despair, after taking a turn into misery lane that you even didn’t know you took.  

“Dam Ships draw from the wreckage of lo-fi basement tapes and tiny apartment jams to craft dynamic songs as memories of our former lives.”

This EP is full of those turns, but it’s also full of rich musical landscapes mapped out by the wary, meticulous hands of Dam Ships. Not only are they careful cartographers, having skillfully mapped out in their minds where they want their songs to take listeners, but they’re true artisans of their craft—each note and arrangement layered in a way that creates an otherworldly end result. The EP opens with “Islets”, a beautiful culmination of mild rhythmic syncopation and soft grooves. Full of tension and release, it builds and builds to a dramatic grandeur and then slows down for its final bow.

“Their EP is a cohesive effort that progresses with each track while also managing to have tracks that are able to stand on their own.” With instrumental albums it can be hard to listeners to differentiate, often piling songs together and unable to tell which is which. That’s often the task for bands—to make sure the album remains cohesive while simultaneously creating songs that aren’t all cut from the same cloth. Dam Ships do this well. Their EP is a cohesive effort that progresses with each track while also managing to have tracks that are able to stand on their own. “Volkspark” is a violent journey on turbulent seas with no standstill in sight, only calming down for enough time to gather your thoughts before Dam Ships explodes with their masterful sound.

The EP overall is a journey and one that will rack your mind with never-ending flashbacks once you’re through. Dam Ships’ sonic possibilities seem endless and with they way they’re pumping out instrumentals, it’ll only be too soon before we’re hearing more from them.

We also mustn’t forget that according to Dam Ships’ Facebook page, their general manager is Ryan Gosling. And if any of you don’t know this, Ryan and I are actually married. (I let him have his fun with Eva Mendes during the day but he’ll always be mine.) And if I know my husband, he sure knows how to pick the best bands to manage. We’ve got a group of true talent here.

Dam Ships is Liam Blackwell, Jason Apostle, Fraser McLaughlin, Max Farrell.


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Nancy Hoang created Hopeless Thunder in 2007. She conducts the interviews, writes the articles, photographs the concerts, and handles the site's coding & design. (She's basically a control freak.) Her work can also be seen on music publication, CMJ. Contact Nancy for image licensing, assignments, or just to say hi.

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