Somali Yacht Club – The Sea (2018) REVIEW

These Ukrainian post-psych chillaxed, barely rockin’ tripsters use the ripples of thier ocean liner smooth stoner riffing and soundtrack-worthy guitar shimmer to lull the listener into a writhing, anxious mess of sedation. ‘The Sea’ and it’s siren songs are minimally enriching for land-legged creatures like us but to dip and dabble in its watery atmospherics and humble guitar rock peaks manages a certain centered recreational symbiosis. With this membership comes ear-twitching memories of ‘The Sun’ and its heady Colour Haze semblanced vision, spiraling within the grit of it’s own iridescent sands in every crevice. Four years brings restful strength and sage decisions for the still-young band alongside hints of aching existential entrapment, alleviated only by the watery meditations of ‘The Sea’.

The expressive, breathy depths of ‘The Sea’ are so calm they’re on the verge of stagnation or dread-like anticipation. By the time I’m halfway through “Religion of Man” I’m still waiting for the psilocybin to kick in and if nothing else the waves of giggling release take far too long to kick in. Those expecting the almost retro heavy psych/stoner rock of ‘The Sun’ won’t find those thick fuzz guitars on two thirds of the hour of ‘The Sea’ and the band have shuttered thier heaviness with utterly chill-obsessed post-rock blinds. As much as I began to yearn for a riff as uplifting as “Up in the Sky” here, the trade off is greater space for vocal melody and splashy post-rock influenced psychedelic rock music.

When the frothy guitars and distorted basslines roll in they’re as meditative and pure as heavier moments from comparable groups like Samsara Blues Experiment or Color Haze. Though those other bands wouldn’t touch shoegazing post-whatever influences and that emphasis gives Somali Yacht Club a modern wave of distinction worth riding. As much as I love the glistening brilliance of opener “Vero” the crooning performances read as dispassionate compared to the suspended middle-peaking of “Blood Leaves a Trail” and the slow-built, captivating bluesy stoner release of “Hydrophobia” amidst its conclusion. Because the band have shown thier hand by the time “84 Days” fizzles in, it’s tired instrumental post-rock wag feels like a needlessly adorable bridge of filler between “Hydrophobia” and the final jam.

As excited as I was to hear the follow up to ‘The Sun’ in hopes of magnified stoner psych-rock grooves, the inherent maturity of ‘The Sea’ is far more memorable and distinguished than anything Somali Yacht Club have managed before. I see the value of this post-psych adventure based on how much they’ve done to differentiate from and transcend thier former selves. It doesn’t always work or flow together perfectly but as a whole ‘The Sea’ builds itself above and beyond the limits of ‘The Sun’ with a thoughtfully progressive take on post-psychedelic rock.


Artist Somali Yacht Club
Type Album
Released February 22, 2018
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Ships are sailing awake. 3.75/5.0

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