The Seas We Sail
Tidewater’s Brett Allen continues in the noble tradition of one-man pop/rock bands on The Seas We Sail, an eclectic, musically substantial release. Like Paul McCartney 40 years ago, this St. Louis-based singer/songwriter plays a host of string, keyboard and percussion instruments as he lays down bittersweet melodies with sharply honed hooks. Allen also invites comparison with such thoughtfully edgy folk-pop artists as Derek Webb, especially in his melding of electronic grooves and acoustic instrumentation. Tracks like “Surrounded” and “Guard” combine twinkling mandolins with abrasive electric guitars and techno beats to create a sound at once rootsy and post-industrial. The album veers between sunny and brooding, underscored by abrupt shifts in arrangement and dynamics. The psychic unease pervading “Closer” is balanced by the kinetic joy of “Voices” and the tenderhearted rumination of “Times We Never Had.” Behind Tidewater’s music is a subtle but ever-present spiritual glow that illuminates “Far Away,” “Taken Me a While” and similar tunes.