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Listing Ship

By: Julia Simon

It might seem appropriate to find Listing Ship’s Time to Dream sandwiched right between Belle & Sebastian and Sufjan Stevens on some cutesy woodland creature’s iPod. The album’s layers of instrumentation are so lush with banjoes, violas, and mandolins they could blanket the driest fauna, and frontwoman Heather Lockie’s voice is so saccharine it could soothe any saucer-eyed fawn. With innumerable references to nature � raindrops, sunshine, forests, and banana leaves among them — it’s hard to imagine that there’s actually little that is benign about the Los Angeles-based collective’s third release.

In fact, there’s a whole lot here that’s scholarly in a rather ghastly way. When the band’s male singer, Lyman Chaffee, takes over the vocal reins on only a few of the album’s tracks, one can’t help but listen more closely to the lines and recall some of the darker verses taught in Poetry 101. Robert Browning could have easily penned the dramatic monologue “Sarah,” on which Chaffee imagines himself a war hero while channeling Johnny Cash’s buttery baritone and emoting the abhorrent lines, “I held her in my arms and said I loved her/ I kissed her on the lips and said she was mine / she closed her eyes and with her / head upon my shoulder / I shot her in the side.”

While the album’s death imagery hardly tries to dissuade the squirrels from scurrying, the Johnny-Appleseed whistling on “Destroying France,” the French-bistro stomping of “Dans La Cuisine,” and the lo-fi, crock-pot waltzing on “Baise Ca,” are enough to convince us to stick around, and maybe even open up our dusty poetry books.

Listing Ship tour dates:

1/27, El Paso, TX (T Lounge)1/28, El Paso, TX (House of Rock & Roll) 2/6, Echo Park, CA (The Echo) 2/7, San Francisco, CA (Make Out Room) 2/10, Seattle, WA (Sunset Tavern) 2/11, Anacortes, WA (The Brown Lantern) 2/12, Vachon Island, WA (Michael’s Living Room)2/17, San Francisco, CA (12 Galaxies) 2/20, Echo Park, CA (The Echo) 2/27, Echo Park, CA (The Echo)

Listing Ship official site