Sunday, 23 October 2016

EP - Sun.Set.Ships - Man.Must.Explore

Sun.Set.Ships - Man Must Explore

Sun.Set.Ships - Sinking Islands

Info: Following the release of their debut single 'Sinking Islands', Monaghan electro-indie outfit Sun.Set.Ships have now released their debut six track EP Man.Must.Explore

Formed in 2014, the trio of Conor Bellew (vocals, keys), Ciaran Curley (vocals, lead guitar) and Ryan Mulligan (percussion, Ableton Live) have spent the best part of the last two years creating a sound of atmospheric electronic-driven melodies with punchy, folk-enthused lyrics. Combining the world of electric guitars, analog and digital synthesizers with programmed drum beats the three lads are honing in on something very unique.

Man.Must.Explore opens with a communication sample between NASA and one of their astronauts on 'Sand Needs Saved', the first half of the track, a musing on our insignificance in the universe, zones in on 80's synth sounds before morphing into a more indie-rock space. There is a Public Service Broadcasting feel to it, and that's not just because of the space-themed sample. 

Coming back to their single 'Sinking Islands' almost 6 months after it was reviewed here, I like it even more, at the time I'd observed that it felt closer to the electronic Scandipop of the likes of Peter, Bjorn & John, as opposed to influences from the UK which seem to be strong over here within the genre. It's a really nice chilled out number from Sun.Set.Ships who keep things simple with a minimalist approach to beats and synths.

Sun.Set.Ships - Song For Brothers

Importantly, Sun.Set.Ships don't just stick entirely to a lo-fi sound and can pick up the energy and pace as required, so it is on third track 'Song For Brothers' (above). Rising and dipping comfortably between dream-pop and indie-rock moments, there's also a concerted amount of emotion and feeling placed into the lyrics which adds to the track's impact.

'The Only Heaven There Is' continues the philosophical observance and pondering of our habits and place in the grander scheme of things. As the song's title suggests, the theme focuses on being in the here and the now, not waiting for good things to happen or a glorious afterlife, your search for heaven begins and ends when you become aware that, imperfect and fraught as it is, we are already in 'heaven', it's called your life and the people around you.

The EP closes with the excellent 'Colours' which featured on one of our recent Playlists here. Stretching out to just over 7 minutes, it runs smoothly and the time isn't long passing at all. It's maybe the most experimental and adventurous track on the collection of six, the introduction of electric guitar and fat bass-line half-way through give added funk to it and ensure it is wholesome enough to last the distance, not to mention a dose of God Is An Astronaut vibes towards it's finale.

Personally I think the EP could have maybe shed one track, but on the other hand it's always good to get greater insight into an act outside the standard four track EP. Overall, Man.Must.Explore is musically and thematically right up my street and I enjoyed many moments across it, it's also clear Sun.Set.Ships have enough variance in the locker to build on this sound and let their creative juices flow further.

Sun.Set.Ships play The Bello Bar, Dublin 8, on the 30th of October, event details here

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