Boston's Victory at Sea makes brooding, seductive rock for smoky bars everywhere. Mona Elliott channels PJ Harvey and Sally Norvell with her torchy cabaret voice and poignant lyrics, while Taro Hatanaka's violin wails and moans plaintively. Dave Norton's tentative drumming heightens the tension as Mel Lederman's electric piano adds a melancholy sparkle. But it's not all sobs and sorrow. If moods were currency, this temperamental tetrad would be the Donald. The lyrics to "Love Is Ageless," for example, suggest hope and innocence, while the haunting instrumental backdrop forecasts doom. And the title of "The Birthday Song (Death March)" kinda says it all, doesn't it? Whether on record or in your favorite murky dive, Victory at Sea punctuates minutes of restraint with moments of catharsis until the frayed melodic string is stretched to the breaking point. And then things get really good.
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