If you might be wondering why Thirteen Senses -- when we all thought five would suffice -- you have to take it as a given that this London band doesn't really do anything small. There seems to be an unending demand for the kind of expansive pomp/pop in the U.K.: the classic progressive "art school" rock excesses of Genesis, Yes, Queen and Bowie, melded with the modern, more streamlined varietals of Keane, Coldplay, Doves, Elbow and Snow Patrol. The lush, atmospheric sound, odd time signatures, extended instrumental breaks and symphonic melodies that are equally intricate and arena-sized all figure mightily in Crystal Sounds, the long-awaited third Thirteen Senses long-player due February 21 in the U.K.
Formed a decade ago in Cornwall around the vision of frontman and songwriter Will South, the band recorded Crystal Sounds at their own studios and released an abbreviated version of the album on their website last spring. Kicked off by the slow burn of the title track, the album soars into the sonic stratosphere propelled by big ideas and grandiose execution. Fortunately, the weighty production -- at times reminiscent of the fine Danish band Mew -- is tempered by the songwriting, keeping the scope primarily grounded in the power of a memorable melody. "Home" exemplifies that nimble balance of drama and accessibility, a chorus hook that grabs and pulls you close even as the swirl of multi-layered instruments and South's celestial vocals envelop.
Thirteen Senses - "Crystal Sounds" (from the album Crystal Sounds)
Thirteen Senses - "Home" (from the album Crystal Sounds)