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Chris Wollard and the Ship Thieves - Chris Wollard and the Ship Thieves (Cover Artwork)

Chris Wollard and the Ship Thieves

Chris Wollard and the Ship Thieves: Chris Wollard and the Ship ThievesChris Wollard and the Ship Thieves (2009)
No Idea Records

Reviewer Rating: 3
User Rating:


Contributed by: SloaneDaleySloaneDaley
(others by this writer | submit your own)

It sure does seem like everyone and their sister who plays in a punk rock band with a reasonably gruff voice has decided to ditch their regular gig to go solo. Then again, who wouldn't want to pursue the love of sensitive lumberjacks and bearded ladies on their lonesome with some acoustic tear-in-yo.
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It sure does seem like everyone and their sister who plays in a punk rock band with a reasonably gruff voice has decided to ditch their regular gig to go solo. Then again, who wouldn't want to pursue the love of sensitive lumberjacks and bearded ladies on their lonesome with some acoustic tear-in-your-beer balladering? Chris Wollard & the Ship Thieves would seem to be another one of these treks but in actuality it is a bit of a different beast.

The first small strike against the album is that the first two songs have been around for a while if you had Chris' split with Mike Hale. The second of the two, "Reason to My Rhyme," comes off as a sombre country tune that takes a bit to get going with its picked acoustics. Yet, when the rest of the instrumentation kicks in, Wollard's narrator is shown as being down on his luck in a relationship but still defiant and willing to work it out. The song isn't pleading or coddling in any way but comes off as a mature individual working at a love hard won. What separates Wollard's vision from so many of the songwriters in the underground and mainstream is the resiliency found in these stories -- refusing to wallow in self-pity or be dragged down by the forces against you. While the alt-country model of songwriting does pop up again in "You Always Leave," it is far from the only style up his sleeve.

Like Walter Schreifels' Walking Concert and Bob Nanna's the City on Film, Chris Wollard & the Ship Thieves explores the boundaries of pop music much in the same way that their previous bands, in Wollard's case Hot Water Music, explored the boundaries of hardcore punk. You get respectable shades of classic power pop ("No Exception"), `90s alternative ("The High Water") and singer-songwriter ("Hey Bea"). These forms aren't by any means mutually exclusive and the fact that the whole album works together so well is a testament to that. While the country/folk bits obviously reflect Wollard's past in Rumbleseat, "Same to You" feels like it could have been an outtake from the Draft's LP and this allows the album to fit nicely into his body of work. To help in general cohesiveness there is also bits of noise or effects at the begging and ending of songs but never so much that it screams at the listener, "Hey! Look at me! I'm a transitory function!"

While there are songs that can stand up against some of the best Chris Wollard compositions out there, "No Exception" and "In the Middle of the Sea" come to mind. However, at only 10 songs (and two being previously released) there really isn't any room for filler and that is what I'd classify some of it. "Up to the Moon" and "Hey Bea" aren't bad songs but they don't seem necessary when stacked up against the rest of the record. There is a lot for Chris Wollard fans here to enjoy as it is a solid release but it feels like the man is capable of much more.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!The Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldThe Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundNothington - Roads, Bridges and RuinsChuck Ragan - Gold CountryAgainst Me! - As The Eternal CowboyJawbreaker - Dear YouAlkaline Trio - GoddamnitThe Clash - London CallingHot Water Music - Caution

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
theGreenHornet (February 3, 2010)

My favorite album of 2009.

keithus (November 14, 2009)

Love this album. I was really surprised by how good it is and how much different his voice sounds than HWM and The Draft. He has great vocal range.

sneed (June 18, 2009)

Good to hear chris no matter what. This album makes me feel good.

preston (April 21, 2009)

This is a fantastic album. Took me completely off guard.

slimeskull (April 20, 2009)

This goes in the top 3 for best of 2009 (so far).

dropkicksoul (April 19, 2009)

Amazing rec. I love the sound atmosphere, very unuual production,

jaggedthoughts (April 19, 2009)

good record. has a nice 90's feel to it.

ashtraymonument (April 19, 2009)

didn't really like it

ahopeagainsthope (April 19, 2009)

My album of the year so far. Different from the rest of Wollard's material, but fantastic nonetheless. My favorite tracks are "No Exception," "Same to You," and "Oh, Whatever." Just a great album all around.

R3vengeTherapy (April 19, 2009)

I love this record. Now where's that new Draft album I've been waiting for?

Angiepants (April 18, 2009)

Fuck the haters, this album is amazing.

Fuzzy (April 18, 2009)

This is a great album. It's refreshing and familiar - without being repetitive and bland. Totally a great listen.

mikexdude (April 18, 2009)

Waaaaayyyyyy disaappointing. I love you, Chris.

phelansegur (April 18, 2009)

This album is simply purrrfect ..

xote (April 18, 2009)

The review made this seem like you liked it more than three stars.

Scully (April 17, 2009)

I expected more from this. While it's grown on me I still think this is an average record. The vocals seem too lazy or something...kinda hard to put into words. However Oh, Whatever is probably my favorite song this year.

blanktapesemptybottles (April 17, 2009)

I was kind of disappointed liked the artwork more than the record, just being honest

mattramone (April 17, 2009)

Jon, you are way off. This is a perfect record in every way. I put it on after long nights of partying and it just relaxes me so much. Every song is a winner. This is the record Dinosaur Jr. should have made after Green Mind.

telegraphrocks (April 17, 2009)

Yeah, a six.

bryne (April 17, 2009)

I like it a little more than you, but good review nonetheless. The world needs more Jon Daley.

maverick (April 17, 2009)

No mention of "Oh Whatever"? I think that's the disc's best song. Lovin' this record.

-Scott

the_other_scott (April 17, 2009)

from somebody who loved HWM, Rumbleseat, The Draft, and Chuck's solo stuff...this record is kinda boring.

ffwoodycooks (April 17, 2009)

i actually didnt like Hot Water Music until i heard this. then i got into them.

inagreendase (April 17, 2009)

Yea, this is dec.

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