Recording information: BlackWatch Studios, Norman, OK (12/27/2002-11/07/2007); Ester Drang Studios, Tulsa, OK (12/27/2002-11/07/2007); Stalactite Oracle, Alma, AR (12/27/2002-11/07/2007).
Photographer: Jaret Ferratusco.
After 2003's classically-inspired tone poem The Marionette and the Music Box and the spacy Fripp & Eno soundscapes of 2006's dual EPs Circles and The White Ox, Unwed Sailor return to their post-rock roots with Little Wars. Based in part on songs originally mooted for a vinyl EP back in 2002, expanded with new material and extensive overdubbing of the original tracks, Little Wars is the most straightforward Unwed Sailor release in some time. These nine songs are complex but melodic instrumental post-rock with little of the flashily technical but emotionally empty time signature shifts and fleet-fingered soloing of math rock, or the fondness for epic structures and high-decibel explosions of acts like Mono or Godspeed You Black Emperor!. To be honest, if frontman/sole constant Johnathon Ford ever decided to hire a singer and lyricist, songs like the jangly "Echo Roads" and the unexpectedly delicate "Lonely Bulls" already have enough of a basic verse-chorus structure that Little Wars could be used as is for the backing tracks for an entirely solid indie rock album. Some fans might consider Little Wars a step back for a band that's had a healthy experimental streak over the course of its ten year history, but it has a feeling of retrenchment about it, as if Ford is clearing the decks in preparation for a full-scale change in sound or direction. ~ Stewart Mason