Underwater Sleeping Society – Instrumental Healthcare (2016)

For those looking for a flowery, synthy dose of progressive rock that emulates everyone from Pink Floyd to David Bowie and perhaps even a little bit of The Cult and U2, look no further than this slightly transitive fourth full-length from the Finnish six-piece. They’ve been around since ’07 but I’ve never really heard anything from them before this, at least to my knowledge – and I was quite impressed with it. The band notes obvious Radiohead influences as well as The Beatles and Nick Cave, performing a variety of what I can only describe as misty tufts of atmosphere fronted by glassy vocals with a slight mixture of wave electronics. While not every song sounds exactly like this, the majority of them do and that creates a certain singular atmosphere within the album by which one can trance-out and enjoy themselves. It is very enjoyable music, nothing altogether bleak or frightening, which makes it a bit of an oddity here – though I can say that this isn’t the first time we’ve really covered a record of it’s type before. The listen itself is rather long, though it’s meant to be that way. Bands like this are the very reason I despise Coldplay‘s pretentiously simplified version of this kind of art rock, because it sands down all the necessary edges and literally creates a rather bland verse/chorus style that makes something that comes off as mind-expanding as this and turns it into a packaged tub of butter. Some people love butter, but I’ve never been a fan of the yellow stuff personally; which is why I’d rather check out an act that really seems to go above and beyond to express themselves in the very fashion that Bowie himself took on years ago and even continued to his final release in Blackstar. It’s not the best progressive art rock record I’ve heard, but it’s definitely worth a listen.

(11 Tracks, 54:00)




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