Title: Under Cover Of Brightness
Artist: Fjord Rowboat
Released: 15 June 2010
In one word: Subliminal
This record serves up a subliminal hit – and a hit that didn’t strike me at first. Initially I was dismissive of this album; I listened once and thought it middling, lacking punch, straining to be heard. But the CD somehow managed to stay put inside my stereo and it was a week before I realised that I’d began listening to it on a daily basis. I was hooked.
Under Cover Of Brightness sees Toronto’s Fjord Rowboat create music which, if we could see it, would be black, grey and white. There is no colour, no vibrancy, but plenty of contrast. Plenty of mood. Plenty of sulk. As detached as post-punk gets.
The dreary opening of “Even You Out” has a faint pulse, a pulse that raises slightly but never quite breaks through. The music is always below the barrier: the wall remains intact, the skin remains unbroken. This is the very essence of subliminal. After the fourth minute of this five minute song, singer Craig Gloster rises with his voice at its loudest, most pointed, but the singing and the music is dissenting without being harsh or strident. There is still a level of control, sedation, and this is the story of the whole album – the music of Fjord Rowboat does not need to over-boil to reach impact. There is no need for splashes of blood red anger, and everything remains in monochrome, and triumphantly so.
Without darkness, we can’t appreciate the light.
There is plenty to appreciate here. The translucent “Outta My Control” is one of the strongest moments. Guitar, keys and a hypnotic drum beat float around while Gloster peels off layers of darkness with echoing lyrics such as: “Find myself some peace of mind…Follow the shadows…Its outta my control.” Meanwhile, “When I Speak Of Violence” is another peak, with lyrics that could easily become etched in your grey matter.
Give this album time and it will grow on you. Under Cover Of Brightness is an album to be played from start to finish, the way an album should be, and you may not have full control of how often you end up listening to it.
The reverberating echo tunes of Fjord Rowboat are waiting for you to discover them.
© Brian Banks, Editor, Music Vice
Fjord Rowboat – Myspace