The Water - Scandals and Animals
Record Label: Scenic Route
Release Date: January 31, 2012
I remember the first time I sat down and watched the film Friday Night Lights. It had appeal for everyone; football for the sports fans, drama for the film-lovers, and an incredible score that everyone could enjoy. I learned the music was done by an instrumental rock group from Texas known as Explosions in the Sky, and thus began my love for not only them, but instrumental music as a whole.
There's so much to take away from it that varies from music with vocals. The songs are more easily open to interpretation, leaving you to fill in the imagery in your head, and there's a certain soundtrack quality to it that mostly anyone could appreciate. This is why I was excited to jump at Baltimore instrumental rock duo The Water's debut full-length, Scandals and Animals. This record does not disappoint. From the opener "Future Nails", you can immediately take a sense of optimism that flows throughout the album. Most songs follow a specific (yet creative and focused) formula, letting the music breathe and build up towards an exciting climax featuring a wide array of instrumentation.
A good example of this is "Groundhog Day", starting off with four simple guitar chords and escalating towards loud, raw energy wrapped around some excellent synth work. Slow-burner "DeSelby" carries on with more of a hopeful sound, implied by a chord progression that continuously grows, finally bursting at its seams. "Parliament of Owls" changes up the pace, acting as an (almost) mid-album breather before Scandals and Animals puts its nose right back to the grindstone.
"Homeless" is a change in delivery, featuring heavier, urgent and more menacing noises that one could definitely conduct a vivid story to in their mind. Slowing its pace into "Vikings", the record returns to an innocent sound with playful keyboard parts before sliding into the pounding beginning of "Halcyon". I have to take a second and give credit where it's due; the drum work on this record is damn-near phenomenal.
Instrumental music can be an acquired taste, but it is something to be appreciated in the least. From a first half filled with upbeat and quick-paced songs, to a second half that does a swell job of changing up that sound, The Water has certainly earned their spot in the scene with this fantastic first record. It leaves us with a sense of beginning, and curiosity towards what kind of experiences The Water could create next.