In hindsight the creative fissures that split Attack in Black were evident as early as 2007 when it released the scatterbrained Curve of the Earth LP. Daniel Romano’s penchant for dusty retro-leaning Can-country was evident. So too was guitarist Spencer Burton’s knack for Radio 3-worthy shimmer folk. Where then would bassist Ian Kehoe’s side project Marine Dreams fit into Curve of the Earth’s equation?
In short nowhere. While his former band’s spindly melodies surface occasionally in Marine Dreams’ eponymous debut Kehoe’s songs might be the most left field — if quietly ambitious — of the post-Attack in Black discography. Guided by Kehoe’s nasal occasionally atonal vocals Marine Dreams ambles effortlessly through genres and eras: “Visions” and “Fold the Sky” evoke memories of Halifax power pop demos. “Yet to See the Sun” one of the LP’s strongest is a heavy-lidded Shotgun Jimmie-style slack-pop jangler. Gritty dreamy weirdness prevails with “We’ll Get Her Back in Your Arms.” None of which are mixtape-opener standouts mind you but crammed into a lightning-fast half hour these tracks are surprisingly cohesive — collectively displaying the mercurial nonchalance (or perhaps confidence) typified by Kehoe’s stage presence. Add in a rotating cast of Sackville all-stars — ’sup Baby Eagle guy — and Marine Dreams has serious grower potential. Polaris jurors might pass it over but it’s a keeper for Attack in Black fans who aren’t quite ready for the folk fest circuit.