Dead Ship Sailing are a hazy rock two-piece that make highly mobile sounds. Their scaled-down, guitar-based drone ‘n’ drive pulls you in on a line. For the recording of their debut, self-titled album, the Seattle-based husband and wife duo of Graig Markel and Zera Marvel gave themselves a set of parameters to work within. Each song was written, recorded, and mixed in a single evening in their own Recovery Room Studio. With guitars, vintage drum machines, and effects pedals (that Markel hand-wires himself), they made one song per week for 10 weeks. This “first-thought, best-thought” methodology generated rough-hewn, Warhol Factory pop motifs. Think the Kills/Raveonettes with streaks of the Soft Moon/Moon Duo—the songs are bleak and seducing with big rhythmic fuzz. Markel’s distorted and taut opioid riffs travel well with Marvel’s ghost-shrouded vocals. By minimizing within a one-night window, Marvel and Markel swell and expand.
Dead Ship Sailing consist of Seattle’s Zera Marvel and Graig Markel writing Kills/Raveonettes–like songs with rough pop immediacy, concision, and instantaneous catchiness—old pros operating under the first-thought-best-thought MO, and they triumph often.
Comprised of Seattle mainstay Graig Markel and Zera Marvel, Dead Ship Sailing is the latest addition to the duo’s resume (after Tagging Satellites, Head Like A Kite, and Graig’s contributions to Zera’s solo work), approaching rough, scorching rock with a rough, minimalist aesthetic. Written in bursts during a series of evening-long, gun-to-your-head sessions, the duo’s debut album recalls a brooding, robotic take on the reverb-drenched allure of The Raveonettes or the wild fury of The Kills. Using primarily vintage guitars and drum machines, Markel pulls Marvel’s seductive vocals to the forefront of the album, which is filled with a charisma that seeps through the gritty production. Like an ’80s Rick Rubin-produced hip-hop track, “Burn To Dust” explodes with stabbing guitars and thumping beats. As Marvel’s slithery vocals ooze in the chorus, her insistent (“I won’t leave until you say I’m right”) and tempting (“it makes you nervous when I walk the plank”) lines make a strong case for their gloriously destructive punchy, stinging strut.