After the breakup of American indie folk five piece Port O' Brien, frontman Van Pierszalowski (to be reffered to as 'Van' for the purpose of this review) brought about WATERS, a project inspired by his return to Oslo. Recorded in Dallas, Texas, the album has a distinct fuzzy sound in and around each track, suggesting that Van wanted the album to have a certain feel about it.
Opening track 'For The One' immediately sets the tone for the rest of the album with hazy guitar chords lying roughly underneath upbeat vocals, the crescendo leading up to the enlightening chorus and wavering guitar plucking provides a satisfying dose of classic alternative rock, with clear influences from Americana and Folk. The Neil Young- esque vocals, are especially apparent on second track 'O Holy Break Of Day' and, combined with the powerful drumming, seem perfect when recorded in the lo- fi style by producer John Congleton. It wouldn't be unusual for a listener to assume that the album had been home recorded, when in fact a lot of money was probably spent on identifying that authentic, almost amateur sound which works so well with the ten tracks.
A mixture of mellow ballads and loud anthems in 'Out In The Light' highlights Van's versatility. 'Ones You Had Before' marks the midpoint in the album, the delicate acoustic finger picking and the subtle yet effective piano chords in the background combine perfectly to compliment the soft vocals. Van's song writing ability is clearly shown as next track 'Abridge My Love' is very much a rock anthem, kicking in after 30 seconds with simple yet confident drumming and the uplifting vocals of 'I can't abridge my love' repeated throughout the chorus.
'Take Me To The Coast' is the last of the Powerful Americana influenced tracks on the album, the instrumentation wouldn't sound out of place on an R.E.M track and the strained vocals add to the rawness of the recording. Final track 'Mickey Mantle' is a slow, suitable and sophisticated ending to a successful debut from Waters. It is hard to think of a way in which the album could be improved, the range and selection of tracks are ideal, the slightly altered production on each track suits each one perfectly whilst keeping the organic nature of the songs. All of these factors make for a highly satisfying listen and unlike what many would have expected, something that is clearly different from Van's work with Port O' Brien. An all round success.