12.02.2015 — “Dead Empires” by The Black Ships

The Black Ships

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Dead Empires” by The Black Ships (2015, from the album Dead Empires).

The Black Ships is an indie pop/shoegaze quartet from Saratoga Springs, New York. They sound like they come from that brief period of time in 1993 when britpop was on the steady rise and 4AD and Creation Records didn’t know what to do with their shoegaze bands. Loads of shoegaze bands were under contracts, but their labels knew that the way to sell records was to brit-pop it up. Bigger. Brighter. Less pedal boards, more major chords. Big guitar hooks and huge choruses. The Black Ships may be from this side of the Atlantic, and they may be from this decade, but they remind me a lot of some of the bands that got caught in the shifting tide back then and over there. That said, this also sounds much better than some of the stuff that tried to be shoegaze and britpop at the same time.

Dead Empires is the band’s second album, following their 2011 album Oceans. They’re self-releasing it on Friday December 4, and the title track is the first song from it.

“Dead Empires” by The Black Ships

I really love that guitar in the intro. That’s what hooked me, and the rest is just gravy. Frontman John Gill has a very pleasant singing voice that fits right in with some of that late shoegaze/early brit-pop stuff. And to that end, I don’t know if it’s intentional or not on his part, but I’m picking up a bit of an affected accent in his voice. Maybe I’m thinking too much.

Anyway, it’s a good song and a good album. You can get it via Bandcamp here.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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