Wednesday, January 2, 2002

Tiny Waves, Mighty Sea

Posted By on Wed, Jan 2, 2002 at 12:00 AM

Tiny Waves, Mighty Sea is a subtly beautiful album in the spirit of confused (albeit passionate) adolescence that has come to typify the Glaswegian sound. However, the strong influence of traditional Indian music adds a new and welcome atmospheric spice. Future Pilot AKA is the alias of Sushi K Dade and friends, members of Belle and Sebastian, Teenage Fanclub, the Delgados and the Pastels. The album swells with wide-eyed children, androgynous spiritualists, dreamers and romantic students, and sparkles with the hopeful gloss of youth.

Tiny Waves, Mighty Sea is simple and low-fi, but as catchy as the most overproduced pop album. The songs float lightly on a pool of melody; they are cushions you want to sink into. The opening tune, “Maid of the Loch,” is a lovesick ballad, best listened to in an Irish pub before going off to sea. It is followed by “Ananda Is The Ocean,” which plays like a bedtime story; Isobel Campbell (Belle and Sebastian, The Gentle Waves) coos as if her lips were pressed against the ears of a sleeping child. “Beat of A Drum,” explodes with the exuberance only hinted at by tamer tracks such as “Opel Waters” and “Radhika.” It recalls the positive spirit of ’60s pop groups such as the Byrds and the Beatles. Most of the 13 songs are excruciatingly short, just under three minutes, the exception being the 10-minute opus, “Om Namah Shivaya,” a soft, tender raga that could wind down a night of partying or quietly commence a relaxing Sunday morning.

Despite all of Tiny Waves, Mighty Sea’s charms, one still can’t help but suspect that something is missing. With all the amazing talent pumped into the album, there should be a little more to digest. It’s like staring at a dusty bicycle in your friend’s garage — you can admire it, but you can’t get on and ride. The album should soar, yet it is content to glide, flying through the air, but never really taking off.

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