Ships Have Sailed Explores Life Changes in New Album, “Ages”

Last month, alt-rock duo Ships Have Sailed delivered a brand new project titled Ages, which consists of 12 songs that bring listeners on a journey through the arc of life while floating atop glistening rock melodies. The brainchild of vocalist, guitarist, and band founder Will Carpenter, Ships Have Sailed stands for putting a positive perspective on the unexpected outcomes of unforeseen circumstances. Taking a risk to focus on music in an individual setting, Carpenter soon found payoffs in the form of uplifting melodies and conscientious lyrics. This growth and evolution led to the alt-tinged indie rock with a pop-kicker you hear today. And as more and more music took shape, Carpenter brought on Art Andranikyan as the permanent drummer.

If you have not heard of Ships Have Sailed prior to this, Ages is a wonderful introduction to the band’s sound and life motto. As Carpenter says,

Lyrically and sonically, Ages represents a life arc. It addresses an exploration of our humanity, our egos, and our instincts. It’s about how we change over time and are shaped by particularly journeys and experiences because while I was shaping this album, my life was also shaping me.

“Can’t Go Back” sets the tone for the album and rightfully so as its opener. It elegantly guides listeners into the journey with a sheen that builds and builds, eventually blossoming into glittering guitar-pop goodness. Distant vocals shift behind the main vocals, which repeat the lyric “you can’t go back, highlighting the importance of moving forward in life regardless of the comfort that comes with staying in the familiarity of the past. The song fades into the crunchy beginnings of “More,” which has a more pronounced instrumental arrangement and vocal prowess than its predecessor. With its harder rock leanings, this track ties closely into the robust lyrics of wanting more – the builds in the instrumentals and vocals complement the course of the lyrics.

About as quickly as Ships Have Sailed brought us from glittering indie-rock into beating hard rock, we’re tossed into the lighter pop-rock sounds of “Take My Money.” While punctuated by an unfortunate realization, there is also a whimsical sense of acceptance that underlines the songwriting aspect of the track that playfully intertwines with the bubbly production. The swing in sound and theme of unfortunate realizations carry into “Faithless,” which, at first listen, might be a song you’ll want to dance the night away to. Yet listening between the fun instrumentals and refreshing vocals, the unfortunate realization is one of incomplete love and one that is probably all-too-familiar to many.

“Breathe” brings a new sound into the mix – slower and more mellow – but the darker quieter tones are still paired with uplifting lyrics, further showcasing the duality of life and sound that has underpinned the album so far. More pointedly focusing on the difficult parts of life, such as confronting demons, “Breathe” similarly reminds us of what “Can’t Go Back” did – we need to keep moving forward, whether that’s by holding onto our beliefs or continuing to breathe when it feels like the darkness is closing in. “Masks” brings the project to a mid-point and, with its acoustic-adjacent approach and echoing tones, is an introspective soliloquy that questions the authenticity of our outward selves, the masks we put on when we’re around others.

“Escape” brings us further into the gentleness that has been progressively established, lulling us with soft rock instrumentals and touching vocals alongside caring lyrics directed towards a close friend trying to find an easy escape. An undercurrent of pent-up frustration swells underneath the soundscape, breaking about halfway through the track before falling back into solemn and hushed tones. An ethereal instrumental solo brings us into “Love In October,” sending a glowing warmth through the soundwaves to offer a meaningful embrace. Marching drum beats and striking guitar chords flutter behind the regretful message – of not wanting to let go of a previous love.

Acoustic leanings return in “Skin.” A sentimental letter to humanity in general, this rich folksy tune focuses on the love we can show one another, knowing that each of us is dealing with something that lurks just below the surface of our skin. It serves as a mellow and soothing reminder that we can experience so much more of the world if we seek out and make meaningful connections. The album continues its pursuit of the human experience with a more upbeat tempo in “Alive.” Filled with triumphant energy and an unmistakable message behind its hook,” Alive” is the pivot point of our lives that represents the moment we realize we’re only given one life and we need to live it fully. With the catchy and groovy rock soundscape, it’s impossible to not dance and sing along to the belted hook. This is the kind of song you roll down your windows to as you drive off into the sunset.

As the album draws to a close, the heartwarming trend continues into “Stay.” It’s calmer, something you’d listen to at the end of the night as the evening is winding down. It feels like an intimate moment – a promise backed by love and compassion and the indie-rock instrumentals complemented by the mellow vocalizations evoke a sense of safety. It feels warm, and this warmth extends into the final song, which is also the title track, “Ages.” Backed by piano and guitar melodies, the affectionate vocals blend into the atmosphere to create a tender closing to this journey. We’re brought back to life, the reality of fleeting moments and memories lived.

Ages is a stunning compilation of digestible melodies and passionate harmonies, all while tackling the very essence of what it means to be human. Give it a listen below!

Elena Lin Administrator
I am a concert/festival photographer based in St. Louis, but always eager to travel for new music and experiences and to meet new faces!
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Elena Lin Administrator
I am a concert/festival photographer based in St. Louis, but always eager to travel for new music and experiences and to meet new faces!

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