North Atlantic Explorers - My Father Was a Sailor
Released October 28, 2014
By Charlie Dims
Back in the day, an album was not just a collection of an artist’s most recently completed songs, but instead was an art piece in itself. It was a statement, a full story, with every song adding something vital to the telling of that story. Continuing this tradition is My Father Was a Sailor, the new LP from North Atlantic Explorers. Inspired by drummer and band leader Glenn D’ Cruze’s father, the album tells the true story of a man’s adventures as he navigates the sea with the British Merchant Navy. Seeing as how this is biographical material, the story is handled with care, while at the same time being unafraid to delve into multiple musical styles.
Cinematic is perhaps the most constant style in this album. From the opening track The Sailor & The Stenographer, we hear a forecast of the sea, immediately setting the scene for the adventure ahead. From there, we get a summary of the love story that will occur between the father and mother as they meet, fall in love, and share a life together. The vocals on the track echo and spread, as if it’s being told from someone in the past, and the beautiful horn playing by JP Carter adds a sense of triumph to the song and to the story.
This sense of triumph is carried over in other songs, such as Don’t Want No One Else. A song about what happens once you know you’ve found your soul mate, the use of the choir in this song adds a nice heavenly sound that touches upon those feelings of flying one gets when they are in love.
In contrast, songs like Lost at Sea and Into the Blue Sea create hypnotic atmospheres of fear and anticipation. The latter, arguably one of the best tracks on the album, takes you through every emotion that comes with facing a monstrous sea: terror, wonderment, and the recognition that anything could happen are all captured magnificently. You can almost see the huge waves rising overhead on a stormy night and feel the fear of the sailors as they partake in venturing through them.
Tracks like No More Stormy Seas and White Moon Bay close out the album. Continuing to experiment with different sonic expressions, auto-tune, electronic beats, and soulful vocals, they tell what happens once the waves have passed.
Once the album is over, you get a sense of how remarkable this story is. It’s not just about being on a boat. It’s about love, adventure, exploration, change, bravery, family, life, death, and everything else over and under the sea.