I’ve been sitting on this record for a few months now. I’ve been trying to review it, but haven’t really found any words for it. While looking towards other reviews, I noticed something. “Honest” was used a lot. Honesty is a strange buzzword for music review purposes. How can a third party reviewer judge honesty? We can judge perceived sincerity, which this record has a lot of. But, in the end, we’re trying to read our own experiences in songs written by other people. Fuck, anyway.
Sinai Vessel are a highly competent and skilled band. They’re generally a mid-tempo indie rock band, but with some punk rock edge thrown in. Stylistically, they make me think of bands on Saddle Creek or Jade Tree, or maybe reminiscent of things David Bazan has done. Like Tim Kasher/Cursive playing with Pedro The Lion. But maybe a little Saves The Day in there as well? This isn’t to say it’s derivative or anything. It is engaging and well made. But, the excellent music aside, the outstanding lyrics are the star of the show.
There is an almost literary feel to the lyrics. As the band describes it, it is a “small collection of songs about disillusionment, understanding, confusion, leaving home, and growing up”. Each song has it’s own feel and story. “Cats,” for example, takes on the topic of a small town church (and the small town secrets that go along with it). “Index On The Oval” seems to be about finding meaning and how you need to continually strive for it. It can get a little esoteric, but that’s not a bad thing.
To kind of wrap things up, if “honesty” as a music talking point means individual reading of emotion and sincerity, then this is an honest record. It’s engaging lyrically, and comfortable musically. Sinai Vessel has enough raw talent to try anything they want. And they’ll be successful at it too, just so long as they keep the heart in the songs.