Calgary, Alberta’s Open Sails is essentially an Evanescence clone, but a pretty good clone at that. Running at nearly a half hour in length, the band blasts through 10 songs of female vocals-led alterna rock on their debut self-titled disc. Opening song “Take It All” is basically an uplifting song about dealing with life’s problems, and the band mines the topicality of relationships for much of their material. Helping things tremendously is the vocals of Joy Lynn, who has the rock diva pipes to pull off this stuff. And the album deftly moves from fast-moving tracks such as “These Same Mistakes” to mid-tempo rockers such as “All of Me” to slower material such as the acoustic guitar ballad “Sunsets”. Notable for an independent release, Open Sails features clean, meaty production, so you have to give kudos to the group for pulling out all of the stops and throwing money at putting their best foot forward, if not putting that money where their mouths are. Some might want to write these guys (and girl) off for merely copying a popular band, but Open Sails does show range and versatility, and should they step away from merely copping an influence, you have to wonder what the band might be capable of in the future. If a major label doesn’t come courting, I would be highly surprised.
While the group does want you to think beyond Evanescence, and I suppose there’s enough deviation here to warrant that assertion – particularly in straight-up rock cuts such as “Make You Move” – the press materials note that the group looks to Metric for sonic inspiration. I don’t hear the comparison, as I think of Metric as being more of a dance rock band and they have a particular signature sound. However, the Evanescence resemblance is definitely there with its high, soaring female vocals. That said, Open Sails don’t really reach for the melodrama and sense of the gothic that Amy Lee and company reach for. Open Sails is pretty plain in comparison. Still, this album screams out fun, no matter if it might not be the most groundbreaking thing on the planet. Despite my critical inhibitions, I rather enjoyed Open Sails on a base, emotional level, and was taken by the positivity of their sound and message. For that, Open Sails is a superlative example of a band successfully taking a sound and adding their own wrinkle to it. Again, Open Sails won’t make you forget what came before, but this is highly outstanding stuff and recommended for those who are impatient about Evanescence’s ongoing hiatus.