Des Ark

Loose Lips Sink Ships

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Yet another male-female duo, Des Ark is neither as willfully experimental as the Fiery Furnaces, as theatrical as Dresden Dolls, or as roots-oriented as the White Stripes. The opening track, a brief acoustic whisper called "Some Are Love," is a fake out, lulling the listener into dreams of a lo-fi Everything But the Girl before "No More Fighting Cats, OK?" kicks the album proper into high gear. Singer/guitarist Aimee Argote has the feral vocal quality of early PJ Harvey, but she's a considerably less startling songwriter. In concert with drummer Tim Herzog, Argote favors angular guitar slashes and fractured rhythms mixed with a more straightforward take on D.I.Y. indie rock (especially on the excellent "Jesus Loves You [But Yr Still Coming Home with Me Tonight]" and the quiet coda "For Bob Riecke") that at times recalls the more melodic elements of older Amerindie bands like Superchunk and Antietam. The songs are an uneven lot, with a distressing sameness creeping into too many. Perhaps J Mascis' "turn the tape recorder on and take a nap" production is to blame, but a greater sense of dynamics and arrangement would have gone a long way to increasing the fun quotient on Loose Lips Sink Ships.

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