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Ships


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Product details

  • Audio CD (22 May 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Secretly Canadian
  • ASIN: B000F2BXI6
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 306,410 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Ship The Majestic Suffix
2. Cast It At The Setting Sail
3. Bloodbook On the Half Shell
4. Did I Step On Your Trumpet
5. When It Comes To You I'm Lazy
6. Two Sitting Ducks
7. My Lion Sleeps Tonight
8. Kids Pushing Kids
9. Time That Bald Sexton
10. He Who Flattened Your Flame Is Gettin' Torched
11. Five Stars And Two Thumbs Up

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By D. Humphries on 28 Jun 2006
Format: Audio CD
This is Danielson's best album to date. If you haven't heard the extended family before they are like Sufjan Stevens (a collaborator) without the sensitivity, or the Polyphonic Spree without the meaninglessness. This is joyous, celebratory music, rich with instrumentation, full of strange melodies, and with the extraordinary voice of Daniel Smith in contrast to the vocals of his sisters. 'Did I Step on your Trumpet' is my song of 2006 so far. This is easily accessible and if you have ever been tempted by Danielson this is the best place to start.
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By Igloo Bill on 17 Jan 2014
Format: Audio CD
If there was ever any doubts about the genius of Daniel Smith this CD quashes them. I first heard of Danielson about a year ago and have listened to nearly all of his/their albums. This is, for me, the best. A whole range of emotions and ideas are just bursting to get out.
Right from the first song "Ship The Majestic Suffix" the CD takes off never lets up until the last song, the outrageously joyful "Five Stars and Two Thumbs Up" is finished.
I have described this album to friends as sort of Psychedelic, Indie, Gospel music. They can be pretty funny as well. "Did I Step On Your Trumpet?" is a brilliant light hearted romp (the video for this song is very good too).
"Ships" is probably my favourite album at the moment.
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Format: Audio CD
If your idea of Christian music is MOR, anodyne and unadveturous, then listen to this. They are so way out there that they are in the next galaxy. I think Danielson's music is like Marmite - you either love it or you hate it. I love it.
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0 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Mr. T. Brown on 17 Aug 2007
Format: Audio CD
I've been waiting 2 MONTHS for mine to arrive, despite this page saying that it is "In stock". It was for my brother's birthday but now is ridiculously late.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 11 reviews
46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
... 12 May 2006
By SirTheory - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The Danielson Famile, aka Daniel Smith and whoever he gathers around to do his bidding (the usual suspects are, actually, his family), had for many years been really ignored in the indie scene. The only people who paid them any attention were free-thinking artsy Christians.

And then all of a sudden in the past several years with the mainstreaming of freak-folk (spearheaded by Devendra Banhart) and the emergence of Sufjan Stevens (who seems to write folky compostions, not songs) the current indie scene all of a sudden seemed prime to accept an artist like Danielson. (Who had more than a little hand in the success of Sufjan Stevens.)

I remember one time going to Purple Door Music Festival where Daniel Smith was playing a solo set (as Brother Danielson, where he performs in a large fabric tree) and there were the devoted fans in some kind of bliss (this was before I actually owned any Danielson CDs, but I always had an appriciation for his odd visions) and people would walk by making disparaging comments... about the sorts of trash that passes as music these days. I suspect they were off to see the latest nu-metal band to play the HM Stage or something.

Since then I have remedied my collection by picking up all the Danielson cds and really enjoy them all (with the possible exception of A Prayer For Every Hour, which is just a bit too raw with mediocre production to really be too listenable on any kind of regular basis).

But I had high hopes for Ships, which we found out early on from Pitchfork (who, love 'em or hate 'em, you have to admit they have good, helpful news on artists like Danielson) was going to feature high profile artists like Deerhoof, Sufjan Stevens, Why?, and Half Handed Cloud. And unlike most artists who get guests to contribute to a work there wasn't any obnoxious track list where half of the songs said "Featuing ______." No, the focus is kept singularly on Danielson and none of the songs really stray from the Danielson trademark. Astute listeners might be able to pick out various artist's contributions, but it's not like you can listen to the album and say that tracks so-and-so definitely have that Deerhoof feel to them. Which is a very good thing.

After hearing the early stream of "Did I Step On Your Trumpet?" my excitement grew to a fervorous state. And little by little that decreased as most of the reviews I read mentioned about how great "Did I Step On Your Trumpet" is but that the rest of the album doesn't come near to measuring up. So I prepared myself for the worst.

And I needn't have had to. Not only are at least half of the songs right on the same level as Trumpet, but there are at least 4 which top it. Danielson has always done the female choir thing (his sisters were a major part of Sufjan's choir on Michigan) and used instruments like banjo and xylophone, so I would not say that Sufjan Stevens was a major influence on how Daniel Smith crafts music. However, (and it was partially seen on Brother:Son, the Brother Danielson cd, and is more fully realized on Ships) there is a definite smoothing out in general of Danielson's sound as compared to the Tri-Danielson!!! recordings. It's as if Daneil Smith has finally realized the epic feel that Sufjan seemed born with.

"Cast It At The Setting Sail" (track 2) is undoubtedly the greatest song on the album. It is catchy as hell and highlights what may be Smith's most interesting vocal performance.

If you like artists like Sufjan Stevens and The Fiery Furnaces and even The Polyphonic Spree (who probably owes their own debt to Daniel Smith and his various visions) then "Ships" is definitely an album to check out.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A small triumph for art-folkies who are tired of cute music. 20 Mar 2007
By J. Mccarther - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This album was supposed to be Daniel Smith's Magnum Opus, and though it's hard to say if it's his best work, it is certainly the most theatrical Danielson (famile, brother, etc) release I have heard. I love the dynamics on this album, and while the persistent gang vocals on the album make it easier to digest, they don't detract from the beauty and cleverness of the composition. It has garnered alot of attention for the guest artists involved (I'm not dropping names here, that's a magazines job), but the beauty of it is Daniel's eclectic arrangements. The music is solid. Nothing technical, but very creative directional shifts throughout. It may take more than one listen, but the subtleties of this album are extremely rewarding. the best part is that they don't substitue schtick for substance anywhere on the album. It never digresses into cheap pop or filler material. A very enjoyable, unique work.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Really good record 10 Mar 2007
By Joshua Eyre - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I think Ships is a great CD. Nobody sounds like this guy and I only slightly see a connection/influence to Sufjan in some of the music and background vocals, but the way he sings and the tenor of the songs is all his own. Even though there's a lot of yelping, howling, and careening arrangements the songs are very good and have a weird energy to them. The music has a kind of nostalgic edge to it that really makes a weird juxtaposition of old and new... kind of like vaudeville punk. It's a strong effort from start to finish and I look forward to the next Danielson release. This ended up being one of my favorites of 2006 and there's no second guessing that for me.
12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A truly unique album that often makes for compelling listening 8 July 2006
By Robert Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This album has been getting a lot of attention among indie rock fans, in part driven by a typically over-the-top and unjustifiably high rating by Pitchfork. Danielson isn't really a band; it is one in a series of collectives by Daniel Smith that have also been known as the Danielson Famile (which actually does include real family members), Tri-Danielson, Danielship or Bro. Danielson. Confused yet? Basically, the band is whatever Smith chooses to call it at the time and the members are pretty much whoever is around at the time. Luckily he has good musical company, including Deerhoof and Sufjan Stevens.

Smith almost always writes from a Christian perspective, but while his songs resonate with religious concepts and are informed by Christian ideas, this is most decidedly not Christian Rock. You wouldn't want to play any of this stuff in church. I was originally drawn to Smith's work because of this. On the one hand I'm a huge fan of indie stuff and often enjoy the work of rock collectives, such as a lot of the Elephant 6 projects; on the other I am a politically progressive but traditional Christian in a nonfundamentalist mode. So I really wanted to like Smith from a content standpoint. Unfortunately, I have to confess that on a content level his work is astonishingly superficial. His lyrics are always the weakest part of his projects. One might have hoped that a truly indie musician with a Christian perspective would have more interesting things to say. But unlike his collective collaborator and fellow Christian Sufjan Stevens, he doesn't.

The music, not the message, is what sets this album apart. Like many of the Elephant 6 projects, this is not your standard rock music. If the standard rock band has at least a guitar, bass, and drums, many of the songs here augment the basic line up to an extent where you can't even tell what instruments are driving the song. All of the songs feel more constructed than written, assembled than performed. I would love to know how much overdubbing was involved on some of the cuts. In other words, this is very much an album that was created in a studio. I'm sure that stripped down versions of the songs can be performed live, but I can't conceive many of these songs existing outside of a studio.

Many of the songs are close to magnificent. The best song on the album, "Ship the Majestic Suffix," which starts off the disc, has something of a quiet nobility to it and there are a host of extremely compelling moments on the album. In fact, none of the songs are devoid of interesting sections and I have found myself listening to the disc as a whole time and again with considerable pleasure . . . for the most part. This is also a frequently irritating album. The arrangements frequently sound like carnival music and there are many moments even within otherwise good songs where the music just seems to grate. Some songs even manage to be painful and pleasurable at the same time, like the beginning of "Two Sitting Ducks." But typical of so many of the songs on the album, after the initial somewhat irritating part of the song, it settles down into something quite moving.

The biggest problem with the album is, however, Daniel Smith's singing. He is simply a terrible singer. I have no idea what his natural range is, but on nearly every song he shrieks out in a simply awful and grating falsetto. I think of a passage in William James's THE VARIETIES OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE where, in reference to Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, he writes, "The sallies of the two German authors remind one, half the time, of the sick shriekings of two dying rats." That passage kept popping to mind listening to Smith sing. Listen to "My Lion Sleeps Tonight." Even when not singing in falsetto there is a shrieking quality to his voice. Contrast Danielson to either Sufjan Stevens albums or those of The Decembrists. Both of those feature some of the same theatricality of arrangements, but sans grating vocals. To be honest, although I feel compelled to give the album a four star rating on the basis of its many marvelous moments, the vocals alone make me want to dock it a star. I can easily imagine many listeners finding his voice too hard to take. I find that sometimes I have switched on my iPod to other albums when his voice hurts too much. "Kids Pushing Kids" often triggers a switch.

So, while I very much enjoyed the album, I have a conflicted reaction to it. There are many good things in it; there are many annoying things in it. For me the good dominates the annoying, but I realize that this might not hold true for other listeners.
Great music--profoundly meaningful and energetic 17 Dec 2009
By J. W. Hedden - Published on Amazon.com
Certainly Danielson is an acquired taste. The left field lyrics, Daniel Smith's singing voice, the layered production. But I find this one of the hidden gems of recent releases. The CD starts with "Ship the Majestic Suffix" which has a weird Talking Heads kind of lyrical quality--I could easily hear David Byrne singing this song on, say, Fear of Music. "Did I Step On Your Trumpet" is easily the most fun song--my family loves the beat, dancing to this whenever it comes on. "My Lion Sleeps Tonight" is about the parable of the Prodigal Son, returning to God and forgiveness. "He who flattened your flame is getting torched" is a coming of age song that beautifully captures the pain of growing up. The CD ends with a great song of companionship, "Five Stars and Two Thumbs Up." "Ships" is far and away an uplifting, positive experience of indie music and an interesting blend of the Christian faith, outsider music, beautiful melodies and harmonies. It won't be to everyone's liking but to those who give it a listen and a little time; the project is well worth the payoff.
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