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Spirit Houses - 'Two Passing Ships' Album Review


1. Nightmares Every Night

2. Inn On Ursulines

3. We All Die Alone

4. Perfect Irish Stout

5. Sweetheart, I'm Jealous

6. Death Was A Naked Sword

7. An Open Letter To My Future Love

There is a slow burning start to the first song, setting the scene for a high-quality attempt at dealing with the emotional and psychological impact of a break up. I was instantly drawn into this album by this opener.

Then, for most of the rest of the album it feels like the songs never scale the heights totally, there is plenty of good playing and the lead singers voice is good without ever fully taking off, its perhaps because some of the songs are too short to build enough of a connection with, while others don’t feel like they know what they are trying to say. If anything, it feels in a few songs that the writer ran out of ideas about where to take the song so just stopped.

There are plenty of excellent lyrics, but in this middle section of the album, it feels like there are one or, at most, two excellent songs that have been stretched over these 4 songs (tracks 2 – 5).

It does feel like there is real emotional turmoil in the lyrics, the songwriter has something to say, it’s very honest, at times slightly brutal, song writing. Its not an album to put on to cheer yourself up.

Then, just as I was coming to the conclusion this was a pleasant enough listen without ever making me feel like I’d want to listen to it again, apart from maybe the first song, the 6th track nails it. This is where the band excels, it all comes together in this one song. Its not cheerful but it feels very much written from the heart and the singer sounds genuinely repentant about letting his partner down and that he really wants to be forgiven but knows he doesn’t deserve to be. I think many people will relate to the situation where one drink turns into 10.

Track 7 continues the excellent form of track 6. Whoever wrote this song is very good at portraying a someone who is broken and knows it. I was impressed with the brutal honesty and self perception on show in the lyrics. The combination of these excellent lyrics and, at times, unexpectedly harder guitar playing works perfectly.

If the form of the first and last two songs had been displayed throughout the album this would have been a five out of five review. These are three excellent songs and have earned a four on their own, the remainder feels a bit like filler. I hope the quality of the first and last two tracks is a sign of where this band are going, if it is then they could be big. This album is worth buying for these three songs alone, just don’t expect it to cheer you up or make you feel like life is good…….

Review - Iain McClay

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