Thirteen Senses - Crystal Sounds

Craig Broad 21/01/2011

Rating: 3/5

When their first album, 'The Invitation', entered the UK top forty chart, there was perhaps only one direction that the once Cornish band Thirteen Senses could go with their somewhat typical Coldplay or Keane-lite mainstream indie sound and that was down. With its follow up, 'Contact' only achieving a seventy six spot in the chart and the following long silence from the band, as well as their release from major label Mercury perhaps signalling for most, the end of this band, it comes as a surprise that here we have it, at the start of 2011, a new album 'Crystal Sounds'. Are Thirteen Senses still relevant though, or will this album be destined to fill the bargain bins, ignored by many.

Recorded and produced by the band themselves in their own studio, one thing is for definite, 'Crystal Sounds' could be Thirteen Senses ticket to experimenting away from the sound that made them popular but also made them too typical. Opening track, the title track, is full of intent, hand claps are built alongside ever growing guitar lines and the use of synth before the almost Arcade Fire-like drums come in, it is almost a war cry in comparison to the Thirteen Senses we've heard before. Lead single, 'The Loneliest Star' has a definite eighties sound to it, which seems a smart move considering the trends in music of late have been in more of that direction. Somewhere in the middle however, Thirteen Senses find some horribly sticky middle ground where the vocals are sickly sweet and sound very Gary Barlow-esque, while musically, it goes down that well tread Keane road once again. Luckily for Thirteen Senses, despite their need to play it safe, they do still have the musicianship to pen a decent tune, and this is showcased in the later stages with the operatic number that is 'Out There', heavily orchaestrated, it shows another side of the band, and makes all these little comparisons I've made to Coldplay and Keane seem somewhat daft.

Thirteen Senses are Cornwalls most successful export it's true, but how long for really? With a wait this long for a third album and the ever increasing difficulty in actually getting fans to buy albums, this could have been Thirteen Senses opportunity to pull it out of the bag, no major label, everything recorded and produced by themselves, it could have been great, and at times it is, but for the most part it is what we have come to expect not only from Thirteen Senses, but also from the pop indie bands from the last decade.

Thirteen Senses Myspace