Contrary to popular belief the band’s name Ships does not refer to a means of transport but rather derives from the suffix. It may have been through their relationship or companionship of music that Simon Cullen and Sorca McGrath began honing their craft in 2012, recording, mixing and producing from their home in Dublin but it was through some sort of ‘ship’ that Ships came to be.
The duo’s debut album is the aptly titled ‘Precession’. ‘Precession’ refers to slow changes in an astronomical body’s rotation of the earth with entire precession of the earths equinoxes and galaxy occurring after a mere 26,000 years. Thankfully, the stars aligned in making the album, with all costs raised via fund:it, taking a lengthy 5 years in the making; far preferable to 26,000.
If precession is to appear familiar whilst constantly in flux, then over its 9-tracks ‘Precession’ has achieved exactly that. One could be forgiven for thinking this album has been drop-kicked from the 80s into the present day, or for feeling like one has been transported back to the era of mullets, shoulder pads and leotards.
The vocals are divided up on each track between McGrath and Cullen, which only adds to the alternating feel of the album whilst delivering a wholistic offering. Around This World opens with a rhythm that would not be out of place on a Grace Jones album whilst the electronic keyboard and electro base of Where We Are recalls Miami Vice (the original) and sipping a blue lagoon cocktail.
Most notable is the production value of ‘Precession’ with its layering of nifty rhythms and illustrious synths. Round and Round is peppered with an array of layers, instruments and melodies with effects similar to that of a games arcade or an original Atari Lynx. I Can Never features phased out keyboards, cosmic synths that are emblematic of a ‘new’ new romantic track.
It comes as no surprise that Ships’ ‘Precession’ is a deserving nominee of the Choice Music Prize, ‘Irish Album of the Year 2017’.
Pop-synths, keyboards, dreamy vocals are the driving force throughout, carefully meshed together with semblances of funk, smatterings of disco, ever present retro-electronica bound up together in an utterly contemporary fashion.