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Glass Top Ships
Label: True Tunes
Time: 12 tracks/ 50:50


This is a very intelligently crafted piece of art.  From the booklet layout, to the production values, there's little to indicate that this is an independent artist, recently rereleased through TrueTunes. However, the music itself defies easy classification.  A little folk, a little dance-pop, a little alternative rock... there are many flavors of music here.  It could have easily not worked, but like other genre-defying bands such as Havalina Rail Co, Five O'Clock People, and Scaterd Few, it's the strength of the musical ability that keeps it focused and coherent.

Some of the standout tracks include the opening track, "Intropsalm" with its "We don't know" refrain ultimately being overcome by the refrain "I see dreams and they make me dream easy," the last track, "The Wreck of the Cast Iron Lady," and "Crackerstorm."

As is evident, even the song titles are out-of-the ordinary.  This is a unique band, which is proving itself to be capable of much; it'll be neat to see how their next album turns out.

Alex Klages 03/27/2000

Wisconsin's Jacobstone offers up twelve slickly crafted, if not particularly gripping, songs on their independent release Glass Top Ships. Their sound is difficult to pin down to a few adjectives, running the gambit from alt-pop to acoustic to 80's synth-pop to jazz, all with the skill of seasoned vets. They're at their best when they slow it down, specifically on lush ballads like "Angry Wing," "Bitter," and the bizarre and beautiful country-80's-pop-hybrid, "Crackerstorm."

The vocals are the real draw here. In a group effort, led by frontman A.J. Fink, these vocals are textured and solid in their execution, and they hook the listener when the music can't. The fact that they support sound, heartfelt lyrics make them all the better, like these from "Shuffleboard":

Listen, God's voice is still there
His hand still hasn't moved
You know God's strength has no weaknesses
That's you trying to fill His shoes
Jacobstone are true professionals with a wealth of potential, and this record is evidence of that. The arrangements (particularly the percussion) are elegant and varying, providing depth and substance to songs that sometimes feel unrealized. Although Glass Top Ships doesn't immediately scream for a second listen, it will grow on you like a fungus once you give it a chance.

Scotty Teems  04/17/2000


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