Portland, Oregon?s Small Sails are billed as a music and filmmaking collective whose performances incorporate music with original film projections. On their second full-length, ?Similar Anniversaries,? the band plays a laid-back brand of indie/electronic music which calls to mind Zero 7, if they were to record an album of upbeat Sigur R?s covers. A full representation of the group?s work is included on the disc in the form of a film for the opening track, ?Somnambulist.? After seeing the collective in the audio-visual sense, one cannot help but feel that the music is much less interesting without the accompanying film.
Most songs on the album consist of acoustic guitar, drums, electronics, keyboards, and vibes, which Small Sails mold into driving, yet mellow, post-rock. The overall effect is pleasant enough, yet a tad repetitive. There is really not much to distinguish one song from another, save for the, well, interesting vocals. Few actual words are used. Instead, repeated syllables are rendered in a breathy, elflike fashion (think Tyrannosaurus Rex). Had a lyric sheet been provided, it would consist almost entirely of ?la-las,? ?na-nas,? ?hey-yos,? ?ba-bas,? ?oh-yeahs,? and ?yabbity-yabbities? to name a few. Unfortunately, these ?lyrics? make otherwise non-offensive songs seem quite irritating.
As with much soundtrack music, the problem with ?Similar Anniversaries? is that the music does not hold up well without the added visual component. The album certainly has pretty moments, but with close listening, it is hardly engaging and at times annoying. In short, this soundtrack should have stayed in the background. 4/10 -- Matt Blackall (14 August, 2007)