Fjord Rowboat’s “Under Cover Of Brightness”

“Fjord Rowboat’s ‘Under Cover Of Brightness’ was a barbiturate and I certainly felt sedated.” -SB

Guest Writer

out of 10

Fjord Rowboat
Under Cover Of Brightness
June 15, 2010

Maybe I’m in a coastal Georgia, mid-afternoon thunderstorm funk, but nothing has been impressing me since the beginning of June. Fjord Rowboat has made a valiant attempt, but I find myself swimming in an all too familiar pool, one with nooks and crannies I’ve already familiarized myself with. Don’t get me wrong, Fjord Rowboat is great. The tunes are good. They hold together. Each instrument complements the other and everything–Craig Gloster’s voice, the lyrics, the melodies, the performance–is melded together into a listenable, cohesive whole. The songs put you in a specific place and mood. They make you feel.

Still, I find a far too familiar sound in Under Cover Of Brightness, one I’ve heard too often. It doesn’t make the album bad—it’s put together with talent and finesse. But I don’t walk away from reviewing this album feeling like I’ve heard something I’ve never heard before. After listening through the album again and again this week, I can’t remember a single verse. I can recall my reaction as a whole—I can recall the way it made me feel after I finished the album the first time, the second time, the third—which is saying something. This album did cause a reaction in me.

I’m called back to a time when I played that “first album” until there were grooves in the back of the CD, when I first realized music could, as I’m clichély about to put it, transport you to another world. Fjord Rowboat creates an escape from the everyday. Under Cover Of Brightness envelops the listener in sounds, but the effect is deeper than a simple auditory response. As I listened to this album the first time, I sank further into my chair, felt heavy, deep, absorbent and spongelike. Under Cover Of Brightness was a barbiturate and I certainly felt sedated.

I’m not going to drone on about kaleidoscopic or dream-pop sound—to be honest, I don’t think that’s as important. Unless deeply seated in the music scene, most people don’t know what that means, nor do they care. Describing an album or band as such limits reader interaction. I want to tell you how I experienced this album and what Fjord Rowboat gave me was a satiated feeling full of summer heat, dreamscapes composed of melodies and guitar rifts, carefully crafted in a sea of sound, talented playing and manipulated sound.

Now while I’m not exactly a fan, and will probably set aside this album after this week, Fjord Rowboat has put together a piece of work that is well worth an initial listen. You may love it, like it, hate it or come away feeling wholly ambivalent—and I’m feeling pretty ambivalent—but the album is well crafted by a talented group of guys.

–Sarah Bates, July 8, 2010