United Waters
The Narrows [LP; Drawing Room]

When Brain Sullivan emerged out of the ravaged cocoon of Mouthus in 2011 with his first release as United Waters, it was as if he dropped from the highest limb into the deepest trench in the middle of the ocean. It continued on 2014’s Sunburner, an album that still feels overlooked and similarly overwhelming with its vast tides rolling endlessly on the shore. Another 3 years has come and gone, and Sullivan — along with his partner Patrick Cole — have washed up on Drawing Room with The Narrows. The mythology surrounding United Waters sound remains, though the calming repetitiveness of Sunburner has been stripped away from an unbearable sun and an unforgiving sea. The Narrows isn’t as murky, with a lot of the guitar interplay showcasing a bit of a steely gleam. The vocals are still gruff and salty, but where Sunburner maturated on a theme while adrift, this land-ho beacon riffs on a lot of the weirder moments of United Waters past. “Even the Moon Remembers” stumbles like a drunk, working to find its legs after being atrophied on a life raft for so long. “Thunderings” is a repeatedly misfired outboard motor, as if United Waters decided it was best to get back out where they came from. But I appreciate this slight tangent of sound; Sullivan and Cole happy to play around with their aesthetic until it becomes familiar and yet new; as muddy and inundated as before, but somehow finding that rare spot when the sun hits the ocean floor.


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