The Most Serene Republic might tip their hats to their Arts & Crafts labelmates on their debut album Underwater Cinematographer, but this theatrical sextet is their own supergroup. Underwater Cinematographer comes off shiny and happy at first with its majestic piano arrangements dancing around angst-ridden guitar riffs and warm harmonies. Frontman/songwriter Adrian Jewett wears his heart on his sleeve like so many of indie rock's tortured souls (Lou Barlow, Ben Gibbard, Joey Sweeney), particularly on songs such as "The Protagonist Suddenly Realizes What He Must Do in the Middle of Downtown Traffic" and "In Places, Empty Spaces." These two particular tracks not only highlight a classic sentimentality, but also an inviting and a very personal effort from the band. They make it okay to be playful ("King of No One") and smart ("You're a Loose Cannon McArthur...But You Get the Job Done"), all without melodrama and too much romance. Underwater Cinematographer isn't your quintessential debut album. It's too complex, too inquisitive, and too ambitious. Tip your hats to the Most Serene Republic.
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AllMusic Review by MacKenzie Wilson