Album Review: Ships Have Sailed, Moodswings

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This is an article I originally wrote for GIGsoup, but was not used because the expected re-release of the album in the UK did not take place. Rather than waste my words, I thought I’d publish it anyway, especially as I gave it 4 stars “Very Good”, the highest I’ve given on a GIGsoup review so far.

Ships Have Sailed are a duo from Los Angeles consisting of Will Carpenter (guitar and vocals) and Dan Hange (bass). Will was in a band called ‘7 Lions’, but has used a loose coalition of family, friends and session musicians under the Ships flag to work on songs with a softer feel, which don’t fit the ‘7 Lions’ sound.

The album is a collection of accessible and likeable songs which would not be out of place on the Radio One playlist. There’s a morsel of McFly in ‘Summertime’, a crumb of Keane on ‘Out Of Time’ and a bit of Bastille in the “Ooo-oo’s” in ‘Boomerang’.

The ‘Moodswings’ name encompasses the range of emotions shown in the album – ‘Summertime’, with its boyband feel, is the sound of youthful carefree days when self-belief and invincibility rule. In contrast ‘Insomnia’, complete with ticking clock intro (an echoing sound to grate the frustrated non-sleeper) shows a fine line in grown up lyrics, “When you’re stuck just drifting in between empty thoughts and troubled dreams, and our lives are full of complexities, so you’re left to suspended next to sleep. It should be easier to find elusive piece of mind, but as we close our eyes how much can we leave behind?” Other stand out tracks are ‘If Only’, a heartbreak song (“Was I using my heart in spite of my head?”) with its suitably impassioned vocal, drum boom and guitar solo, and ‘You Should Know’, joyously upbeat and impossible to dislike, clap along chorus and all. ‘Echoes’ has a much more reflective, atmospheric sound, and ‘Criminal’ is darker and deeper, the military beat underlying the song. One slight niggle is that the final track, ‘Imaginary Friend’ is a touch on the twee side. Never the less, if you’re looking for an album with a popular sound which takes you away from the flock, and a band with a huge amount of potential, look no further. Your ship has docked.

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