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Album Review: Brokenlegged by Sinai Vessel

Sinai Vessel release their long-awaited debut album Brokenlegged via Tiny Engines on 27th January. While Sinai Vessel began as a one-man project for singer/guitarist Caleb Cordes the band actually formed in the aftermath of Profanity, a record helmed by Cordes and executed with a rotating cast of volunteers. Only after the album saw the light of day did the project turn into a more active, concrete group, filled out by drummer Joshua Herron and bassist Daniel Hernandez, both high school classmates of Cordes’ and — perhaps essentially – – fellow natives of the space and communities that so define Sinai Vessel. The band began to tour, leaning on and building from that sense of kinship and shared experience, and eventually informing the more collaborative and multifaceted Brokenlegged, an album that remarkably balances Cordes’ continued gift for first-person storytelling with a more markedly communal energy.

Brokenlegged has the feel of a difficult album, it’s tough to define and peg down. A mix of mewithoutYou, Pedro the Lion and Bright Eyes along with a smattering of indie-emo of Foxing and Prawn it’s an album that while being endearing you get the feeling it may have been a struggle for the band. The fact that it was full recorded twice as the band felt something was missing after the first production certain alludes to that.

Unfortunately, it’s also a little too difficult for the listener. While there’s a fragile endearing feel to the album it doesn’t fully translate into something emotive that the listener can connect with. As such it also feels like a frustrating album, you know there’s something of real quality lurking somewhere it just takes too much effort to get there. It’s only on the final track ‘Cork of Worry’ that something comes through and properly connects.

It such a massive shame. From opening track ‘Looseleaf’ you get the initial impression that Brokenlegged is going to be something excellent yet it never seems to kick in. Between the bookend tracks of the album it’s largely a sense of disappointment and the band coming up just short of the potential they have.

That’s not to say that Brokenlegged is a bad album. It’s too average, there’s nothing remarkable and it ends up being a tad forgettable.

AD Rating 6/10

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