Scarlet Sails pick up where their debut EP finished on their experimental debut album, Future From The Past.
The band is comprised of four people, Olya Viglione (vocals and pianist), her husband, Brian Viglione from the Dresden Dolls (drummer, backing vocal and multi-instrumentalist), Mark Kohut (guitarist) and Jesse Krakow (bassist) – and my god, do these make some beautiful music together!?
This album is truly mesmerising! I can not think of a rock album in recent memory that has gelled together so many influences and sounds so well on one album! This album is theatre through and through.
The best aspect of this album, without a shadow of a doubt, is its ability to slide between theatre and classic rock so effortlessly. “I Found A Boat” starts as a piano and guitar lead track that is pushed through with a vulnerable vocal before more classic ballad rock takes over – then comes the bridge. The Dolls “Brechtian punk cabaret” sound takes charge which adds another lay to the track.
“Precious Time” has more of an upbeat production and manages to implement Motown/soul vibes into the verse for what makes the biggest surprise of the album. The piano that’s added to the bridge adds to an already strange, yet great song.
While “Spell My Name” sounds like a rockier version of Elton John song in parts, as well as the David Bowie, glam-rock verses make for another theatric song.
The album is written about Olya’s travel from Russia to the US and all the adventures that she went on during that time. Some songs deliver that message better than others; one of the greats is “Everytime.” The song wouldn’t sound out of place on Greenday’s American Idiot,” it’s punk-pop vibes. “Everytime I look around, I see this town that wants to break me down,” calling upon the experience of being a stranger in a new town.
Other songs like “One, Two (Fear)” manages to convey the story through its production. The jazzy tones sound like they’re from a New York cabaret in the 50s, possibly conveying the sounds that Olya was presented with when moving countries.
The highlight of this album by far is the perfectly imperfect, “Alive.” The track is dark, dramatic and most importantly, tells a story you can picture in your head. The vocal isn’t perfect, but that simply adds to the story being told, and emotions aren’t perfect, they’re messy. “C’mon, just make me feel, make me cry/I want to feel again,” it hits you in the heart, someone feels so emotionless after heartbreak (or possibly after moving away from everything Olya knew, if you follow the album story) they want to feel any emotion, whether that’s sadness or happiness. The last moments of the track where Olya screams “alive” sounds like something out of a horror movie, but it’s the perfect end to a song that delves so far into the writer’s feelings.
I’m not saying Lady Gaga was an influence for this album, but the theatrics contained throughout the 12 songs are something you would expect from a rock album from the pop star.
Sails have taken risks on this album, implementing sounds that, on paper, shouldn’t go together, but in reality, they sound amazing! Theatric, weird and genre-bending!
You can buy the album over on iTunes or stream it on Spotify.
Check out the lead single from the album, “Boy You’re Wrong” below and let us know your thoughts about the album in the comments below!