This Town Needs Guns
The Speed of Sound in Seawater
Tracklist1. Abandoned Hospital Island
2. Coarse Gold Girls
3. That Hollow Home
4. 90's High School Party
5. Firecracker Kid (Tonight at The Bronze)
6. Goblin Scrawl
7. Jared's Going to Love This
9. Hitching Post Bound
10. The Suburban Spellbound
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Damien Verrett, the man behind So Much Light, is also the man in the front of The Speed of Sound in Seawater, math-rockers who Pokémon-referenced their way into my heart last year by combining their first two EPs, Red and Blue Versions, into one release: Yellow Version. Having released a teaser EP last winter, it’s safe to say that Supine/Spellbound has been a long time coming.
Verrett’s first solo effort is as much of a departure from his band’s signature style as it is a reaffirmation. While some songs, like the album’s opener, “Abandoned Hospital Island,” are easily diagnosed as acoustic math rock and feel like a solo effort, the bulk of Supine/Spellbound is jam-packed with extra musicians and their respective instruments. In many ways, Verrett cultivates a lush, full chamber pop sound, not unlike newer Maps & Atlases or Vampire Weekend.
That being said, Supine/Spellbound is also quite campy, if the cover art of the idyllic suburban neighborhood in which two kids are holding hands wasn’t enough of a tip off. The lyrics are often moonstruck, sometimes matter-of-fact, usually quaint. Verrett’s delivery is high-pitched and vulnerable, often nearly whispered and tinged with falsetto, and his songs ring out gorgeously—but it’s not a Sigur Ros bad-ass kind of vulnerable and gorgeous. It’s more like an Owl City or Secondhand Serenade kind of vulnerable and gorgeous.
If you’ve got a taste for riff-hungry, whiskey-drinkin’ dude music, Supine/Spellbound probably doesn’t have a lot to offer you. But if you can sing all the lyrics to Copeland’s “Kite” in the right pitch, the mathy acoustics and buffet of orchestrations might just be a gateway drug into straight-up bumps of guilty pleasure and injections of black tar kitsch.