Based in Melbourne, Australia, The Book of Ships is the current project of producer D.A.Calf. The debut album Dark Continent, Cold Century, (longlisted for the Australian Music Prize) was recorded in a disused bowling club in a small industrial wasteland and mixed at BJB in Sydney by acclaimed producer Scott Horscroft (The Panics, The Presets, silverchair). The record is dense sonic journey through layers of interweaving angular guitars, synths and intense multi-part vocal harmonies.
Whiffs of Eno, Mercury Rev and Broken Social Scene permeate the record, coupled with the bombastic epicness of M83. The production values suggest a space where Dave Fridmann and Alan Moulder would meet. It’s a labyrinthine headphone record in which something is revealed with each listen.
In solo format, the tracks are reduced to fragments of beat, a whole lot of spring-reverb laden guitar and a cathedrals worth of vocal effects.
Reviews of Dark Continent, Cold Century:
A wild explosion of melody, snare drums and guitars. Eno-inspired controlled chaos. Here come The Book of Ships!
– Vijay Khurana – Triple J (March 2010)
As beguiling and ambitious as its title suggests, emerging like an awakened giant left to survey the progression, destruction and decay of the century passed… ten polished tracks which promise more than most double albums do.
– Indie Album Of The Week ****
The Brag (August 2010)
A rushing, indie-rock track that brings to mind the dynamic buzz of folks like Broken Social Scene, old school Decoder Ring, and…I want to say Superchunk but it’s not quite right. Sweeping-indie-firecracker-rock?
– The Vine (April 2010)
Song after song of endlessly replayable, perfect pop. Perhaps the most astounding aspect of
Dark Continent, Cold Century, is the ease with which it presents itself as being so tremendously accomplished. There is a wealth of brilliantly executed music present on this simultaneously complex and unassuming record – every note is pitched perfectly and every transition
is smooth and effortless. 8.5/10
– The AU Review (July 2010)
A righteous dark-rock-done-pop, Broken Glass In My Mouth is the kinda song that Carlos from Interpol would give you herpes to. It’s a spangled charger, that’s at once as poppy as Stars, yet as gloomy as The Smiths. Fucking beautiful.
-Beat (June 2010)
This record doesn’t walk in a straight line by any means. Like a deliciously spacious apartment, not too big that you’ll get lost but just big enough to let you have a mid afternoon psyche out.
Musically there’s the rushing guitars of The Flying Nun bands of the 80s,
a Broken Social Scene shambolic vibe and Grizzly Bear’s grandiose arrangement,
all the while being something very Australian. Best shit I’ve heard in ages!
-Luke Rodely (FBI radio/Only An Earthling)(July 2010)
While there’s no denying the dreamy grandeur of this record, it doesn’t sound like any other band.
-Mess + Noise (August 2010)
Hectic and rather good.
– Ross Clelland – The Drum Media (June 2010)
[A] rich, multi-layered…fanastic LP. [A] brilliant local release.
– Matt Shea – Scene (September 2010)
[An] astonishing live presence…One of the most impressive units on the local landscape…
None of these tracks feels like anything you’ve heard before. There’s quirks and nuances wrapped in lush instrumentation and it’s an album that continues to unravel with repeated listens. 4.5/5
Album of the Month
– Reverb Streetpress (August 2010)
Dark Continent, Cold Century is out now on nomachinethinking through Vitamin
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