Channeling the heartbreak at the loss of vocalist Chris Torpy into their creative endeavour, We Lost the Sea have created one of the year’s musical wonders.
Departure Songs is an emotionally harrowing journey through grief, sorrow, sacrifice and failure. The feelings of loss are so profound they linger long after the final notes have faded away.
The album begins with ‘A Gallant Gentleman’, a track that acts as a tribute to Torpy through the tale of Capt. Lawrence Oates who gave his life to save others who would only later die anyway. Layers of guitar evoke the atmosphere of frozen expanses, cymbal crashes resonate like the stark emptiness of Antarctic darkness, weaving into a soundtrack to the bitterness of useless sacrifice. ‘Bogatyri’ tells of further sacrifice, opening with a sad acoustic refrain before building the tension into extended guitar breaks and thundering riffs. The following track is a more claustrophobic piece, slow and sombre with a melancholy piano in the extended coda.
Departure Songs takes things to a new level on the centrepiece, a sprawling re-examination of the tragedy of the Challenger disaster from a quiet beginning featuring mainly the voice of William S. Burroughs, an almost disquieting ambient until well into the second half explodes into crescendos of distorted riffing with drums and bass piling on the tension once more to a sudden climactic tacit and the emotionless chatter from the control room as people on the ground react with heartbreak. The second part of the suite offers a glimmer of hope that maybe this failure wasn’t completely in vain – that perhaps lessons and reason came from it after all. Certainly We Lost the Sea found the inspiration through loss to create a masterpiece that will remain in the consciousness of post-rock for a very long time.
1. A Gallant Gentleman
3. The Last Dive of David Shaw
4. Challenger Pt 1- Flight
5. Challenger Pt 2- Swansong