When I received my latest quota of albums to review from Ray… I was immediately drawn to “Rope For No-Hopers” by The Pirate Ship Quintet. Their quirky name and beautifully designed album cover really spoke to me. They were first on my iPhone and the first in the queue to consume for TINAS.
The music presented on this release is utterly delightful… the kind of lilting, atmospheric neoclassical-infused post-rock that I just simply adore. Their combination of guitars and strings (violin + cello, I think) work with some passionately energetic percussion to make a glorious sound… one that, if it had remained instrumental, would have scored highly in both my estimations and my rating.
However, some of the tracks are punctuated with the most horrific screams… not extreme metal gurgles or screamo shouts… these are screams that sound like Jack Bauer was in the recording studio and needed some information in a hurry from one of the band members… that or said band member was transforming from their human form into a werewolf for the first time. To say I found these screams off-putting is an understatement… they could curdle milk! I can’t express how utterly disappointed I am with these wails. Seriously… I feel like I have received a big wrapped parcel for my Christmas and, upon opening it, discovered there is nothing inside the box. I am gutted!
’Horse Manifesto’, for example, shows so much promise and yet is a let down for me. I can’t express it any other way… why these screams are included is beyond me but then I have to acknowledge that they are not to my personal taste and may work for others… maybe I am missing an in-joke or something?
I can’t condemn this release outright and would never dream of doing so… the instrumentation is fantastic and features some of the best post-rock soundscapes that I’ve heard in a while… lilting… lush… pastoral… inspiring. So too is the cover art… it is truly a delight to behold and would look fantastic on a 12″ vinyl cover.
If they were to release a version that didn’t contain screams that sound like someone being waterboarded while simultaneously tasered then I would snap it up in a minute. However, as the release stands, it pains me to say I can only give it 6 out of 10.
I’m sorry… I don’t want to hate art… and I am always reminded of the words of Anton Ego from “Ratatouille”: “…the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.”
It is a meaningful record and more meaningful than this humble review… but that said… I just can’t get my head around these screams. They have wasted what was an otherwise delightful release for me… but, please, don’t take my word for it and find out for yourself!