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Two If By Sea

Safety

(Silver Three; US: 17 Oct 2006; UK: Available as import)

Baltimore’s Two If by Sea have more in common with bands across the big ocean than they do anyone in their own city. Rich, lush, epic, grandiose, and theatrical are just a few of the many adjectives justly applicable to the music these guys make, whether it is the string section accenting “Safety (A)” or the tight, quasi-angular rock heard on “Report from Damage Control”, which instantly shifts into a nifty hi-hat propelled dance-rock tune. Think of Franz Ferdinand if fronted by David Bowie and you would get the picture here. Lead singer Cris Cowan has a timbre that brings to mind Interpol in some instances, especially on the fine “High Water Mark” and the equally infectious “Million to One”, which retraces steps found on an earlier tune. The smooth quality to each number results in an album that seems to know when to shift gears, with the dramatic “White Zin on Ice” taking the mood into some melancholic territory before galloping off into a golden sunset. There is nary a horrid song here, but there are some really great ones, such as “Mont Blan(k)”, which could have been found on Sam’s Town. The only one that leaves a somewhat sour taste is the electro-rock-by-numbers style of “Summer Borne for Sleep”.

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Originally from Cape Breton, MacNeil is currently writing for the Toronto Sun as well as other publications, including All Music Guide, Billboard.com, NME.com, Country Standard Time, Skope Magazine, Chart Magazine, Glide, Ft. Myers Magazine and Celtic Heritage. A graduate of the University of King's College, MacNeil currently resides in Toronto. He has interviewed hundreds of acts ranging from Metallica and AC/DC to Daniel Lanois and Smokey Robinson. MacNeil (modestly referred to as King J to friends), a diehard Philadelphia Flyers fan, has seen the Rolling Stones in a club setting, thereby knowing he will rest in peace at some point down the road. Oh, and he writes for PopMatters.com.


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