Let's Go Sailing

The Chaos in Order

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    7
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Let's Go Sailing seems like a pretty average twee band, what with their penchant for the Smiths, their album's construction paper and crayon artwork, and Shana Levy's vulnerable, often vibrato-less vocals. But those who can get past The Chaos in Order's darling cover art will find an album as full of pathos as anything put out by the would-be Elliott Smiths of the world. Let's Go Sailing sounds a little like Rosie Thomas, but they're better off shelved next to Great Aunt Ida; they're whimsical and gentle, but they're also blessed with a complicating, wry world-weariness. "Sideways" is a great example of this -- it's sugary and pop-oriented, but it's also laced through with Levy's melancholic, somewhat chagrined vocals. In fact, it's Levy's skill as a singer, her ability to meld sweetness with darkness, vulnerability with cool, that sets Let's Go Sailing apart from other indie pop outfits. There are times when Let's Go Sailing's mopiness can grow a tad wearisome, especially on the painstakingly slow "The Rope Is Long." But by and large this disc drifts along, bellied up by its own airiness. "Come Home Safely," for example, is so puffy and delicate it feels like it could blow away; it's very pure. "The Chaos in Order" is a promising debut on the part of Levy and her bandmates -- a good album for those who've grown tired of Belle & Sebastian, as well as anyone who'd like to drift away on a sad little cloud.

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