Life without a doubt provides its own difficulties; some greater than others but nevertheless we find a way to face those battles head on. Tall Ships’ journey is no exception. Following the group’s initial rise in publicity after the release of their debut, ‘Everything Touching’ (2012) and sold-out headline slots at venues like Scala the rollercoaster ground to a swift halt. Finding themselves with no management, label, and heavy debt, they disappeared off the radar.
Written during their four-year hiatus and self-recorded at the keyboardist home in Devon, ‘Impressions’ is a triumphant resurgence. All nine songs are played with intent offering a wealth of heart, as they tackle and question the intricacies of living head on. The content reflects on moments passed such as ‘Lucille’ about a past lover. Not in anger, but in a sense that there is hope for the future. This zeal is laced right through to the end of album, but is seamlessly embodied by ‘Will To Life’ a track inspired by a German philosopher’s theories on exactly that. It’s full of bliss, it’s uplifting and the energy erupts like a phoenix rising from the ashes.
Wonderfully crafted and majestic the compositions possess a grandeur sound, evident on album opener ‘Road Not Taken’ and the melodious ‘Home’ which features a colossal crescendo. As a unit Tall Ships’ instrumentals are commendable, yet Ric Phethean (vocals, guitar), Matt Parker (bass), Jamie Bush (drums) and Jamie Field (keyboard) still find space on the record to showcase their individual talents via the intros.
Bold, speculative and profound ‘Impressions’ is a vital reminder that although we may keep moving forward and putting the negatives behind us, they should never be forgotten. Our histories are what shape us in the present.
Words: Lisa Henderson
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