If I’m being honest, I don’t anticipate that many of our readers will be familiar with Shipwreck Karpathos. The band is working within the niche realm of post-rock during a fickle era where a five year stretch between releases can be a black hole a lot bands can’t return from. But some artists deserve to be more well-known than they are, and I’m hoping this premiere can help shine some light on one of those worthy collectives.
Before getting to their new song “Don’t Panic,” here’s a quick introduction: undeterred by the trials of being an unknown musician releasing a debut album, guitarist and primary songwriter David Chastain came charging right out of the gate with 2016’s Bring Down The Sky, a fully-formed multi-part sci-fi concept album featuring futuristic airship pilots, robot sidekicks, eradicated cities, floating cities, and an epic journey to overcome seemingly insurmountable evil. You have to give the band credit for ambition, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that their style is indicative of what it might sound like if Coheed & Cambria took a crack at writing a post-rock album. To get a sense of what I’m talking about feel free to click through and hear what to my ears is one of the finest 80 seconds of post-rock to come out of the second half of the 2010’s (0:35-1:55).
I saw Shipwreck Karpathos live in their hometown at the inaugural Post. Festival in 2018, and despite having not been in the same room for quite some time due to members moving away they tore through a highly emotional set, and I was struck by just how much fun it seemed like these guys were having playing together. Flash forward to 2021 and we find the band getting ready to record their follow-up to Bring Down The Sky, a yet-untitled record set to be recorded by Coastlands guitarist Jason Sissoyev during the coming months. We don’t have to wait to hear new material though; the band helped assemble the streaming live event Isolated As Fuck Fest earlier this year, and are sharing a version of “Don’t Panic” from their set. Chastain says the song will be the opener on the upcoming album.
The track follows in the footsteps of “Bring Down The Sky,” shredding through its opening third before settling down into a duo of more contemplative passages that lead the song to its conclusion. It showcases much of what the band does well – thoughtful soundscapes and energetic swells of guitar-driven heroics. It’s a solid indication of what to expect from the new album as the band has chosen to record the songs live at Russian Recording in Bloomington.
Here are some words from Chastain regarding the new album: “With this new record we’re REALLY leaning into our post-hardcore influence. I honestly hesitate to even call us a post-rock band these days. It’s a lot more driving, a lot heavier, a little mathier, and we trimmed most of the crescendo-core vibes that comes to mind for most people when they hear post-rock. There are still elements of it but we scaled way back. It still feels like a Shipwreck record but I’ve been telling people it sounds like Shipwreck got their shit together and went to college.”
“Bring Down The Sky saw The Pilot and his first mate / robot companion Virgil take on an army of Simulacra and it left them on a broken ship wandering out into a world where they are both now, as far as they know, the only two living beings left. The Simulacra Transmission saw the Simulacra send a message as Installation 1138 was being destroyed to wake up The Singularity, something bigger and more mysterious and sinister. LP2 picks up where those two leave off, with The Pilot and Virgil roaming a quiet planet completely unaware of what is coming after them.”
The new album doesn’t have a release date as of yet, but we hope you enjoy this preview of what’s to come. For the time being you can follow Shipwreck Karpathos on Bandcamp, Spotify, Instagram, and Facebook.