The Watery Graves of Portland
Watery Graves or Portland sound like they should be a death metal band or perhaps even an art rock band. Would you believe they are an instrumental band? Adrian Orange (aka Thanksgiving) plays drums and Curtis Knapp (Kid Finish) is on piano with Davis Lee Hooker (. . . Worms) on upright bass. The album is almost exclusively piano and brushed drums with the bass super low in the mix.
Caracas goes from slow and ethereal to a fast beat locomotion. This sensation of movement is very strong through out the album. Listening to Caracas feels as though you are on a steamer in the 1920s actually heading to Caracas, Venezuela. The boat’s band is a three piece purely improvisational jazz outfit.
I am by no means on expert on jazz so I may be completely wrong on giving Caracas that label, but to a layman’s ear it does sound “jazzy”. The album is a little bite of relaxation. I cannot really describe the music beyond the aforementioned, there is not a lot to talk about composition-wise, but the emotion and images that the songs create are astounding.
“The News” sounds like a live wire right before sunrise while “Sailing Takes Me Away (to where I am going)” is a bittersweet trip where the traveler knows they are heading toward their final destination. “Three White Men Rowing” is a child’s wind up toy watched with glee on Christmas morning by a room full of relatives, but as the toy slows down the onlookers lose interest.
Caracas is nondescript background music at worst and an inspiring journey through self-discovery at best. Regardless of your opinions of instrumental music, the Watery Graves of Portland have put forth a fantastic effort that is the perfect change of pace from three chord electric drudgery.
Release date: December 5, 2005
Label: Marriage Records
Rating: 5.5 / 10
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