Venice Is Sinking sounded like a promising, R.E.M.-style rock band (also from Athens, GA) on the three tracks on the split EP they shared with What We Do Is Secret, released in December 2005. Six months later, the group's first full-length album makes good on that promise, although the comparison to R.E.M. now seems less apt, perhaps because some musical growth has taken place, or perhaps because a better sense of the music is gained from the increased length. Daniel Lawson remains front and center, writing the songs, playing guitar, and singing most of the lead vocals, as Karolyn Troupe, who sings along, provides the musical variety by trading off on various non-rock instruments -- flute, violin, cello, viola -- thus giving the music a softer, more melodic aspect. But Venice Is Sinking aren't really interested in rocking out, anyway. This music is more about moods and reflections, particularly sad ones. The album is dedicated to Troupe's brother, who died while it was being recorded, and while that is not referred to directly, there is an elegiac quality to the music, best expressed on the song "Undecided." That feeling gives way to a sense of contemplation by the end. The final track, "Blue by Late," is described as having been "spliced, warped, and reconstituted from tracks 1-9 by [engineer] Chris Bishop and Venice Is Sinking late one blurry Game Boy-filled evening," which seems to suggest a sort of "Venice Is Sinking on 45" medley. Instead, the track is 19 minutes (more than a third of the total disc time) that might have been borrowed from one of Brian Eno's ambient albums.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann