Flies the Field
Maybe it’s just the music I listen to these days, but Shipping News’ Flies the Field seems very anachronistic, more at home with late ’90s indie bands like Unwound. It’s not really a bad thing when it’s done right. The band toes an interesting progressive line throughout the album. About half the time it pays off, as with the old school Tortoise groove on “Axons and Dendrites” and the Godspeed- and Sonic Youth-inspired sharp guitar lines that make up “Paper Lanterns.”
The band takes a turn for the worse on tracks like “(Morays or) Demon” and “It’s Not Too Late.” The former tumbles into Tool-esque cliché and the latter offers an unhealthy level of nu-metal pathos with lines like, “Didn’t want them to break you.” It’s an attempt at ominous, but ends up being laughable modern rock. If Shipping News had canned the vocals, this disc could’ve been a decent listen. By flaunting the worst trappings of prog-rock’s self aware melodrama, the group unintentionally quashes any good aspects the album had going for it.