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EP Review: Desert Ships – Skyliner

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Artist: Desert Ships
EP Title: Skyliner
Tracks: 4
Release Date: 10th November 2014
Label: Independent

London-based Desert Ships have been described as a “trip-tonic” three-piece shoe-gaze outfit. They pride themselves on their “heavily cinematic” sound, which they established on their début release Doll Skin Flag in the July of 2012 produced by Mark Gardener, formerly a member of the band Ride. This début release came out in the same year as the band formed, a truly impressive effort that projected them into a series of festival appearances, tours with the likes of The Prodigy, Band of Skulls, The Rifles and airtime on XFM radio and BBC 6.

Skyliner is the band’s second release, due to be independently released on the 10th November. I have to be honest, when I first hit the play button, and I realised what sort of EP this would be, I was hesitant as this is not usually listen to, and don’t usually enjoy. By the time I had finished with this four-track listening experience, I have to admit, I really rather adored certain parts of it, the soothing elements implementing a ton of reverberation and echo which really gave an airy and eerie vibe, but was significantly less taken by other parts.


The title track Skyliner is a very psychedelic rolling beast, something much like the early work of Pink Floyd with their song Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun. Skyliner is an apt lullaby, gentle piano riffs coursing through the main body of the song, spooky key sections resonate through the background whilst vocalist Mikey explores a variety of tones and pitch in his voice, leading the listener through a story-telling experience.

The following two songs; Heart Beats and Shell Shock, are in my opinion, fairly average. Musically, they’re decent, but there’s very little about them that really stands out for me. Following the opening track Skyliner, which was musically complete, progressive and grows throughout the song, I was disappointed.

With that in mind, the last song Ausgang (which is German for ‘exit’) serves as an outro, and I have to say I was thoroughly disappointed. The song is tiresome and unnecessarily repetitive, and to be brutally honest, it really started to get under my skin. The track is over eight minutes long, and is probably eight minutes longer than it should have been. Halfway through, I started to skip ahead, ten seconds at a time hoping for a noticeable change to the dreariness but ultimately was left disappointed.

Overall, I’d have to say that this really hasn’t changed my opinion of shoe-gaze in the slightest, and I can’t see myself listening to any more in the future. In truth, it’s a pity; the opener had certainly begun to change my mind about the genre, and I could feel myself slowly enamoured by it, but the following three songs undid all of the progress it had made. Regardless, if shoe-gaze is your thing, I suggest checking these guys out.

You can find out more on Desert Ships at their:

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About The Author

Music Technology graduate currently working in PR.

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