In a simple world, instrumental indie rock could be easily divided into two camps: that which serves as background music (e.g., Tristeza, some Tortoise material) and that which must be followed meticulously (e.g., Don Caballero, Maserati). Unwed Sailor is an act that could sometimes be placed in the former category, but viewing it in the latter would be more beneficial. These nine tracks are based upon delicate guitar parts that are then laid over unadorned but important basslines. Vocals are utilized on the last song, "The Quiet Hour," as bassist Jonathon Ford delicately whispers lyrics that summarize the album's non-religious yet spiritual message, a message that drives Unwed Sailor's songs and is consistent with the band's idea of creating music that encourages, enlightens, and invigorates. Surely Ford, guitarist Nick Tse, and a cast of studio musicians that include members of Early Day Miners, Ativin, Roadside Monument, and Blenderhead have done so here. All of these songs are filled with a suitable balance of tight rhythm and beauty, with enough energy and excitement to make tracks like "The House of Hopes...Dreams...and Wishes..." practically brim over at the end. The wonderful bass work by Ford just goes to show why he is arguably one of the more diverse axemen in the indie rock scene, whether playing metal (Warlord), math rock (Roadside Monument), indie pop (Pedro the Lion), or instrumental indie rock (Unwed Sailor). This act (which has also seen members of the Casket Lottery and Living Sacrifice on drums) is certainly worth any hype given. The Faithful Anchor is not only Unwed Sailor at its best, but some of the more engaging, refreshing instrumental music that the indie rock scene has seen in some time.
AllMusic Review by Kurt Morris