Ah, weekday pre-orders. Every time something I like goes up for sale while I'm at work, I inevitably forget before descending into a minor panic halfway through the afternoon and abandoning all pretence of being a good employee to throw myself at my phone. Any guesses as to what happened here? Whoops.
Aw yis. Hand screen-printed sleeves, yes please. I like that mine is a little bit imperfect with that splash of orange down the right hand side. The white of the border and logo look super-crisp as well. Excellent work.
I told you fans of orange wouldn't have to wait long! This is a rather bright orange (limited to a small 100 copies), fairly similar to the orange of the cover (which is something I like A LOT) with some fairly plain labels to fit with the minimalist feel of the artwork. You might notice there's a slight hint of black in the top left of this record. I am all about the minor imperfections here. It's a nice to see the track listing on the back cover also has the same orange-to-blue gradient as the front. I think it may have been screen-printed too and it's a really good job if it has been. All-round, this release is very aesthetically pleasant.
This 12", then, combines the two EPs Tall Ships released before their debut album, each of which is on vinyl for the first time here. These two EPs were my introduction to Tall Ships and the reason I grew to love the band. Neither is flawless but both are spectacular. How only two of these songs made it onto their debut album is a mystery to me. Those two songs are Books and Ode To Ancestors - long-time readers may recall that in my post about that album I was fairly critical of the re-recorded versions of the two songs, and listening to the originals just reaffirms those thoughts. Books sounds a little bit cheesy but that's part of the appeal for me. It's over-the-top and a touch silly but that's why it makes me smile, and why it has the habit of sticking in my head for days. Ode To Ancestors, on the other hand, I think is much simpler here and that suits the song a lot more. I'd go as far as saying this version of the song is probably my favourite Tall Ships song outright. Other highlights here are the compulsively danceable Words Are Pegs Upon Which We Hang Ideas, perennial live singalong Vessels and the absolute angular joy of Plate Tectonics. I love these EPs, and revisiting them makes the wait for some new material a little more bearable.