Look Alive by Unwed Sailor

The instrumental post-rock band’s latest incorporates shoegaze textures and ’80s hooks.

Johnathon Ford’s long running instrumental/post-rock outfit Unwed Sailor just keeps trucking along with their latest release, the very excellent Look Alive. In contrast to 2019’s Heavy Age, Look Alive feels more intense and raucous, with songs that feature shoegaze textures and ’80s hooks alongside Ford’s trademark melodic basslines and the band’s propulsive rhythms.

The whole album is excellent and I could probably write about each and every song’s level of detail. That being said, I do find myself returning primarily to the title track, which recalls classic Cure albums like Seventeen Seconds and Pornography with its moody atmospherics. And then there’s “Camino Reel,” which feels like several different songs mashed together, what with the noisy opening that slides into a cleaner, poppy section (that’s one of the album’s brightest moments) and then into a post-punk-y bridge with searing guitars. In the hands of a lesser band, this could’ve easily been a trainwreck, but this is Unwed Sailor we’re talking about, so naturally it all comes together.

For more impressions of the album, check out this track-by-track breakdown by members of Minus the Bear, Serena-Maneesh, Pedro the Lion, mewithoutYou, and others.

The album’s digital version can be purchased on Unwed Sailor’s Bandcamp page. But it’s also available on vinyl and cassette from Light In The Attic Records and Steadfast Records, respectively. (The vinyl release is set to ship on July 3.)

Full disclosure: I wrote some of the press materials that accompany the album. But I’d still think Look Alive was a great album even if I wasn’t involved in its promotion.

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