Photo by David J. Cubberly
Local four-piece Carta Marina specialize in a sort of "indie rock mood music," marked by a rich, ambient sound, cryptic lyrics and a foggy, nighttime vibe. The band, named after the famous Medieval sea map, formed in 2007 and recently released their debut record, Hold the Ghosts. The group's deep, moody foundation runs throughout the entire album, but its strongest moments actually come when the material doesn’t attempt to send listeners all the way into the depths. The two opening tracks – “Your Majesty” and “Sister Bay” – prove the most memorable by adding more traditional traditional pop melodies and an overall lighter vibe to the underlying formula. On these songs the band finds a balance between evocative moodiness and accessibility that allows their talent to shine. Some of the material, such as the lengthy "End of an Era" and "Skyline Blues," goes on for a bit too long to sustain interest, but even these tracks succeed at creating a unique ambiance and proving Carta Marina have a clear vision. Hold the Ghosts is a solid start and worthwhile listen for anyone partial to the more introspective side of indie rock.
Carta Marina is:
Chris Reehoff (guitar), Justin Shields (keys), Jeff Palac (vocals, guitar, bass), Rick Gladkowski (drums).