Click to hear: “Monswoon”
The Baltic Sea is singer/guitarist Todd Hutchisen (of Twitchboy and Seekonk fame), ex-Colepitz guitarist Ray Suhy, bassist Jeremy Smith and drummer Jason Ingalls, who’s seemingly playing in half the bands in town these days (Seekonk, An Evening With, etc.). Through Scenic Heights is the group’s first full-length, appearing about seven years after Hutchisen and Suhy began collaborating. It’s been worth the wait.
This album, produced by the band with help from Jon Wyman, is superbly crafted, a suite of eight songs that fade into one another like a series of fevered dreams. The sonic atmosphere is dark and dense, punctuated with odd sounds: a typewriter, backwards-whizzing blips, snippets of arty conversation. The music glides, soars and crashes repeatedly over the course of 45 minutes. Timed correctly, it makes a perfect soundtrack to one of our now daily thunderstorms.
The opener, “Monswoon,” may cause flashbacks of early-70s Yes, with Hutchisen channeling Jon Anderson’s space-cookie croon and the band executing proggy pirouettes in a tough time signature. But around the four-minute mark, the wind picks up, the guitars thunder, it gets noisy. Yes never rocked this hard.
The melodies here are rich and plentiful, but complex. It takes a few listens before they begin to stick, but once they do, watch out, or you’ll be the geek in front of the stage at their CD release show, bobbing your head in 9/8 time. And there ain’t room enough in this town for the both of us.
— Chris Busby