White Sails are the San Francisco based trio of Leigh Gregory and Finnish brothers Ville and Jaakko Vilpponen. I’ve not heard of them before but the promo sheet says some former bands the members have been in include Mellow Drunk and The Bias. I found their Facebook page and see that Ville was in Dora Flood, whose 2007 We Live Now album was a very nice set of psych songs. I also see that White Sails’ debut album was released in January of this year.
The new White Sails single on FdM consists of 4 songs – two covers and two originals. The covers are… well… Black Sabbath are the god-fathers of Stoner-Metal, right? My introduction to the band back in the day was Master Of Reality, which included Orchid, so I knew from the get-go that the boys were capable of acoustic instrumentals. White Sails take on two subsequent, and far more gentle, Black Sabbath acoustic tunes as their covers for the single. They really make Laguna Sunrise (from Sabbath’s Vol. 4) their own, giving it a trippy Country-Psych atmosphere and groove, and colored by beautiful mind-bending guitar leads. Fluff was on Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, and I can easily imagine some fans having considered it precisely that. But the melody is simply enchanting, and on this one White Sails are more faithful to the atmosphere of the original, though I like the fuller instrumentation, including keys, piano and orchestral drumming in the mix, and the music does take on a more full band feel near the end.
The Answer is the first of two White Sails originals. It’s a beautiful acoustic guitar driven instrumental that veers into majestic Prog territory when the keyboards and heavier drumming kick in. Death On A Pale is a similarly acoustic guitar led instrumental, though with a thudding rhythmic pace. These guys really excel at seductive acoustic guitar melodies and deceptively intricate playing.
The single will be available mid-August, and as usual this is vinyl ONLY, no CDs or downloads. If interested you better hurry because Fruits de Mer releases sell out QUICK!
For more information visit the Fruits de Mer Records web site at: http://www.fruitsdemerrecords.com
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz