Whether it’s the layer of gasses that surround the Earth or just a guitar drenched in reverb, it’s abundantly clear that atmosphere is important. On Rise Ye Sunken Ships, the debut album from We Are Augustines, this fact is reinforced time and time again with a collection of moody songs that evoke the grand emotional statements made by bands like the Killers and the Arcade Fire, but with a much more restrained approach. While all of these bands take listeners on a cathartic journey, We Are Augustines' approach is refreshing in its lack of grandeur, preferring to make its impact in a way that’s decidedly subtler and more textural. The Brooklyn trio shows a lot of restraint on songs like “Juarez,” and the album opener “Chapel Song,” allowing them to slowly build up emotional pressure without ever opening the release valve with the huge, crashing crescendo of a climax that’s expected from songs like these. This lack of a release is a bold gamble for the band, but one that is ultimately successful, providing the album with a steady emotional tension that is built up and released slowly over time instead of in predictable bursts. We Are Augustines have created a record that gives the listeners all the time they need to explore the ideas inside without ever threatening to push them out the door, creating the life-sustaining atmosphere necessary to make Rise Ye Sunken Ships the kind of place you live rather than visit.
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AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney