Ships Have Sailed With Grown-up Pop

Ships Have Sailed, with Will Carpenter at the helm, is a name which promises songs of maturity and self-awareness, and this Los Angeles-based outfit delivers. Named Someday, their debut EP (nationally released 15th July, 2014) contains six tracks that carry me along willingly on a wave of indie pop. The song’s influences come from more than one wellspring, and there is a pleasing variety here.  Will Carpenter started playing instruments when still very young, listening to musical greats from the 1960s and ’70s before discovering angst-ridden grunge in the ’90s. A multi-instrumentalist, he plays the violin, bass guitar, and electric guitar. He is also a member of rock/hip hop band, 7Lions. Will wanted another musical project for a set of songs which are different to the 7Lions output. The result is Ships Have Sailed.

All the songs here are either written by or co-written by Will Carpenter. First track on the EP (and the debut single) is titled Midnight. It’s catchy, radio-friendly pop with soft vocals. Building to a rousing chorus, it’s the obvious choice for the single. The You Tube video for Midnight tells the tale of love and jealousy amongst circus folk. Clouds is a simple arrangement with sparse acoustic guitar and voice and is more in singer/songwriter territory. Lovely parental sentiments are expressed – clouds on water, sons and daughters, don’t you falter. Bring You Down returns to more familiar pop material, but still in thoughtful mode, with a slightly Coldplay feel. With a driving beat and rock guitar, Better Off is a heavier song – conceivably, heads could even be banged to this one. But we’re in the land of mellow California sunshine on Just To Get Through, with some nice harmonies. Someday is the final song and title track, with inventive percussive patterns, another rousing chorus and introspective lyrics – I feel like I’m living someone else’s life.

Good instrumentation, harmonies and arrangements pull the best from these songs. Ships Have Sailed are obviously not attempting to be trendy, and that always helps artists to have a longer career. The quality of the songs is the priority here – no tricks – just good craftsmanship and honesty. Their versatility also stands them in good stead, as they can go down different musical paths and grow.

Will Carpenter’s plan is to record a full-length album in 2014 involving collaborations with more producers and songwriters.