Airship - Stuck In This Ocean

There’s something in that Manchester water, eh?

Rating: 7

Airship, like many other Manchester-based bands on the scene right now, are adamant about making their own unique mark on the city’s storied musical history. ‘Stuck In This Ocean’ is Airship’s debut, and with it, the band has managed to creatively use the layers of sound to their benefit, fashioning soundscapes that aren’t the least bit pretentious and, in fact, sound incredibly solid. Lead singer/songwriter Elliott Williams has a voice that has all the wide-eyed wonderment that you want in a singer: think about Tom Chaplin when Keane first appeared on the musical radar. This album is a mature, considered effort, despite the fact that Airship’s members are barely in their twenties. The cover of the album displays a baby’s sonogram, which could viewed as a nod to their relative greenness to the music business, their releasing of their precious album to the wild, or a combination of both.

Their debut begins with something that might be familiar: ‘Algebra’, the title track from their EP released last year. The song starts with a swelling of sound before guitars jangle away and Williams’ voice joins the fray. Listen to this track and as you take into account all the parts that Airship decided to put into it, including the echoes on both the main and backing vocals, you come to the conclusion that they picked the right pieces to make this track sound uplifting and grand. More driving is recent single and BBC 6Music, XFM, and Radio1 favourite ‘Kids’, with a similar uplifting tone but with a faster tempo that will likely appeal to the kids that pogo at gigs. ‘Spirit Party’, another track from the previous EP, thunders along with a heavy bass line and memorable guitar hook. This album is chock full of fun tunes like ‘Invertebrate’, not a science lesson but a pop meets psych rock tune that bops along pleasingly, and ‘Vampires’, using rockier instrumentation and a Lykke Li-styled megaphone effect for a sultrier end product.

But what leaves an even more lasting impression are tracks like ‘The Trial Of Mr Riddle’, ‘Organ’ and ‘This Is Hell’, both of which make it seem like Airship is channelling the sound of the heavens. It’s easy to get swept up in the sonic grandeur, building and building in beauty and scale with the swirling guitars. Glance at the album’s credits, you shouldn’t be surprised to see Doves’ ambient programmer Rebelski and Doves/Cherry Ghost producer Dan Austin listed among the names. In this debut album, the Glossop-bred quartet prove that even at their young age, it’s possible to create complex songs that are accessible to all and music to the ears. There’s something in that Manchester water, eh?