[CD REVIEW] 甜梅號 (Sugar Plum Ferry) – 腦海群島 (Islands on the Ocean of the Mind) (2010)

[CD REVIEW] 甜梅號 (Sugar Plum Ferry) – 腦海群島 (Islands on the Ocean of the Mind) (2010)

Imagination in Limbo

LABEL: 前衛花園唱片
LANGUAGE: 純音樂 (Instrumental)
RELEASE DATE: 2010-02-13

The shortest track on 甜梅號 (Sugar Plum Ferry’s) third album, 腦海群島 (Islands on the Ocean of the Mind), is around 6 minutes.  Though not particularly short, per se, is nothing compared to the average 13 minute runtime of songs off their last album, 謝謝你提醒我 (Thanks for Reminding Me).  While the considerably shorter track lengths would suggest a more direct approach ala their debut, 是不是少了什麼 (Lack of Something), this does not seem to be the case here.  As Islands on the Ocean of the Mind is exactly like its title suggests –– an exercise in imagination, a world that is built on islands floating atop the river of consciousness.  Though the sound here is loft sided towards introspection, it seems to the lack the sense of purpose present in both of their previous albums.

Upon first listen, it would seem that Taiwan’s premiere post-rock band has gone mellow.  Not to say that previous albums didn’t have their quieter moments, but Islands on the Ocean of the Mind seems deliberately calm compared to the rest of the band’s catalog.  Though scorchers like “No More Soundtrack” from their debut is missed, new tracks like “夜星子” (“Night Celestials”) try to keep the fire kindled.  But whereas the former burnt like molten lava; destructive and unrestrained, the waves of distorted feedback of the later are more like ash cinders floating in the sky; gentle and temperate.  In general, Islands on the Ocean of the Mind is closer in scope to Thanks for Reminding Me –– only with less ambition and focus.  This is not completely a bad thing though, as Thanks for Reminding Me would often have moments of excess that were not easy to swallow in one sitting.  This time around the band is less keen on proving themselves, and has learned to take a step back and allow for their sound to wash over and settle.

The new album still offers plenty of memorable moments though –– the glorious crescendo of “清醒夢” (“False Awakening”) is filled with intensity and drags the listener through a whirlwind of emotion, “黃昏鹿場” (“Deerfield At Dusk”) may be the band’s most heartwarming composition and final track “敲響的鐘” (“The Tolling Bell”) aptly conjures up images of bell tolls harkening the setting sun.  While previous albums offer a more direct and engrossing experience, there is nothing wrong with being vague –– I mean it’s good to let the mind run wild once in a while.

清醒夢 | 甜梅號

Recommended tracks: 01, 02, 06

Track Listing:
01. 清醒夢 (False Awakening)
02. 黃昏鹿場 (Deerfield at Dusk)
03. 站在太陽上 (Feet on the Sun)
04. 人兒呀 (People, People)
05. 夜星子 (Night Celestials)
06. 敲響的鐘 (The Tolling Bell)


I like to spend my time on the internet searching for the meaning of life. When I am not doing this you can find me listening to music or playing the bass…or stuffing myself silly on Burritos.

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