Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

WE ARE AUGUSTINES

Rise Ye Sunken Ships

2011-08-29

“We Are Augustines” band members Billy McCarthy and Eric Sanderson are formerly of the band “Pela” which disbanded due to personal and studio problems. Rise Ye Sunken Ships is produced by Dave Newfield of “Broken Social Scene.” “We Are Augustines” has opened for “The Boxer Rebellion” while on tour. Billy is trying to tell the story of his youth here – a mentally ill, drug-addicted mother who killed herself, a nonexistent father, and a brother James who also killed himself in the middle of treatment for newly-diagnosed schizophrenia. This album is catharsis, hopefully, and the title couldn’t be more fitting. Bandmate Rob Allen’s high energy drums are at the forefront of each song with first track “Chapel Song” setting the tone for the entire album. “Augustine” is their torch song with tight chord change-ups. It’s the best track on the CD. “Headlong into the Abyss” is an intricate composition with seamless transitions. “Book of James” is a busy rock anthem a la Springsteen with synth noise added towards the end. “Juarez” chronicles Billy’s heart-wrenching escape from his youth. “New Drink for the Old Drunk” is a high energy march and one of the best tracks on the CD. “Patton State Hospital” bristles with a driving beat and sense of urgency. Read the liner notes and you’ll see why. “Barrel of Leaves” is a retrospective ballad crying out with minimal music interference. “The Instrumental” has elusive conversation added to background. This is a synth heavy, studio-created experiment with multi-layered sound traveling up and down the scale. They say to write what you know. Billy McCarthy’s hurt is just underneath the surface. Rise Ye Sunken Ships is a powerful release, in more ways than one. – Pam VandeKerkhoff

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