Call me a cynic, call me what you will, but I find it quite refreshing to hear a band out of the UK, with such orchestral warmth, not sound like Keane, One Direction or a Mumford band. Aside from the Fireflys, and maybe a handful of other bands, those who tend to lean toward the melodic singer/songwriter side of music often become simply a reconstruction of an overplayed hand.
It is with broad strokes with ethereal chords floating through ambient space that The Reads find themselves Lost At Sea void of reconstruction. And to be frank, I have never felt so comfortable with the idea of being Lost At Sea. Hints of similarities that strike me anywhere from Guy Garvey and crew to On An Island to early Fran Healy become consumed by the seemingly infinite stretch of this album. However hard I try to pick apart these ten tracks I seem to ultimately lose myself in the expanse of the beautiful orchestration.
Spending the last fourteen years working out exactly what The Reads sound like, releasing their debut three years ago, the expectation is, well, rather high. But when “Drowned” comes in on a rolling melody, layered with a range of instrumentals, all of a sudden I can’t seem to see the bar that was set; I can simply sit back and let it flow over me. The record, the sound and the band are a modern musical evangelical experience that emerges from the muck of modern existence as a shining beacon of quality sound and diehard ethic. Above all it is a relief to have such a comprehensive album where each song is as vital to the next and best listened as a whole. Not designed for the grab-a-single-and-move on listener, be sure to put strong emphasis on the title track, the folk reminiscing love song presence of “Scarlet,” the blindingly brilliant mid-record pinnacle “Love or Be Loved” and of course the dominating closing track “Spitting Feathers.” Traversing electronic waves under the skies of ambience, navigated by solid musical composition, supported by a progressive rock frame with strong musical vision at the helm The Reads prove, without a shadow of a doubt, their direction is the right direction and they most certainly have a grasp on their journey.
Imagine stepping through a portal to a place where time and space seem to move differently than we’re accustomed; a place where you are content watching the environment ebb and flow, a place where things travel at a different pace and your mind is clear. That is being Lost at Sea. Get lost.
Greg is a regular contributor and co-founder at Nanobot. He enjoys seeing winter fade into a memory so he can complain about the heat and have a better environment to build new memories with music like The Reads.