Small Leaks Sink Ships
Gig Seeker Pro

Small Leaks Sink Ships

Portland, OR | Established. Jan 01, 2007

Portland, OR
Established on Jan, 2007
Band Pop Indie


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Face Yourself and Remove Your Sandals"

Eight years ago, Small Leaks Sink Ships released one of the most intriguing art rock albums I've heard to date in the form of the peculiarly titled "Until The World Is Happy, Wake Up You Sleepyhead Sun". It was a brilliant exposition of progressive rock welded into a modern alternative rock format with plenty of experimentalism merged within that sounded like it was inspired by everyone from Coheed And Cambria to The Mars Volta and muse. It was also a perplexingly complex album that took forever to grow on you, but once it did, the reward was breathtaking. In the meantime, the band have been quiet. One EP was released back in 2011, but nothing else has aired from the studio since then. But then again, it does take copious amounts of time to compose song structures as convoluted and challenging as Small Leaks Sink Ships do, so it's not a huge surprise to see "Face Yourself, And Remove Your Sandals" having taken such a long time to write and record.

Since then, other bands have popped up on radar that now make it much easier to draw comparisons to just how Small Leaks Sink Ships sound. You know, art rock with progressive tendencies isn't always the easiest of genres to put down on paper. A very similar approach to awkward and strange soundscapes is taken by the Aussies in The Red Paintings, whose story-driven expression is so odd it makes reviewers squirm in attempts at analysing it properly. Here, Small Leaks Sink Ships take a similarly explorative approach towards their soundscape, going through everything from tranquil piano rock and indie rock to voluminous progressive rock sections, with post-rock elements and mathy sections embedded within. The percussion, too, is noteworthy for its unconventional application, which is partially what gives the album its intriguing texture. All of this is of course significantly different from the slightly more aggressive and catchier alternative rock-oriented songwriting of their debut, but somehow the pure art rock approach feels like it was always going to be this band's home territory anyway.

Here, throughout the course of ten songs, the band concentrates not so much on writing catchy passages rather than ambitious works as a whole. There's a slightly nervous atmosphere all-encompassing the record, suggesting the songs are designed to work together as a complete group rather than to be sliced into individual songs. That's why lengthy and delicate instrumental parts do not feel bothersome against their more relatable counterparts where awkward clean vocals are liberally spread in a desire to experiment stylistical boundaries. For some, this may, of course, be too much, but for art rock fanatics Small Leaks Sink Ships have released yet another marvel of the genre, though at the cost of accessibility which was a factor elevating their debut album to its critical acclaim. - Rock Freaks

"Face Yourself, and Remove Your Sandals"

Video Review. Click on link to watch - All Media Reviews

"Face Yourself and Remove Your Sandals"

This is just an initial post about this record, I stumbled upon the other day and checked out and was pretty floored by actually. A top album of the Season contender? I might not want to go that far at this point; but I did really enjoy this record, which to be honest, I cannot find much if any concrete info about the release date, etc.., I only found just the obvious blogs and other sites with vague info that has the artwork and /tracklist.

The only specific thing is the single "Yellow Bird" below which is embedded per their bandcamp page, and the trailer for this record posted on YouTube (and Vimeo) back in October.

In the interest of time of course, I will just say, I heard about this band maybe even around the time of their debut LP in 2007, or maybe a year or 2 after. I recall they were from Arizona, and I think where I saw their name was one of the annual Alternative Press "100 Bands You Need to Know" issues. Come to think of it, I think it was either 2009 or 2010.

Anyway, I recall not thinking they were bad, but not exactly a band I heard tons of potential with.

But with this new record of theirs, some 4 or 5 years after my initial impressions, I think I may have been won over a lot more. I love the use of piano throughout this whole record.

Is it kind of low-fi? I suppose, but that adds to its charm in a lot of ways. Is it prog? yeah, I guess, and Post Rock, math rock, psych, dreamy among many other sections. I hear bands like Murder By Death and early Menomena among others. Great atmosphere and nice use of strings at points.

Either in here or in hopefully the upcoming Season preview (or midseason review, which should come in April) I'll include more. But right now, I can already say this is 1 of the 5 best records I've heard thus far in 2014-2015.

edit: I really should update this anyway, just at the point when the details of a release date and things is finally given, I imagine on their bandcamp page, I can definitely see myself purchasing a hardcopy of this record if/when one becomes available.

But, it's been 1 month to the day since I posted this and honestly, this record has become my clear favorite record this season, and I gave in as I keep enjoying it so damn much, I put it up to 5-stars.

A review/Video Review should be coming soon (not only for this, but a few others in fact). But for now, I can say this very much reminds me of one of those records that comes out of nowhere to become an all-time favorite of mine. I am rather in awe and still addicted to it, and very happy it is finally being released. - All Media revies

"Face Yourself and Remove Your Sandals"

When i was young, I learned that first impressions are everything. The way you dress, the way you carry yourself, the people you associate with, the things you say online, etc., are what people are going to judge you on before they ever meet you. I thought I had learned that lesson long ago, but Arizona indie post-rock outfit Small Leaks Sink Ships have made it very clear to me with their new album Face Yourself, and Remove Your Sandals, that I am still guilty of judging a book by its cover.

Upon receiving this review, I expected Small Leaks to be something more along the lines of a U.K. progressive metalcore band, but what I received was a smoother, more heartfelt and calm sound, something more along the lines of something your campus radio station would love to play. I was shocked when the first track Power Outage came on, an ambient, bonfire sing-a-long type of indie/emo song similar to A Great Big Pile of Leaves, and then another two songs just like it, which I will describe later on. This pattern deceived me once more, for I became so immersed in the album that I didn’t realize until halfway through the final song that I was listening to a full blown post rock album. Nice.

The emotions present in Face Yourself are complicated. Half of the album carries an indie-rock vibe, mostly having to do with the presence of vocalist Judd Hancock, the other half is a post-rock adventure, an emotional roller coaster that hits both sides of the spectrum in the form of half somber, sad, emotional tones and heroic, epic sequences. This album plays in my mind as a coming of age tale about an emotionally distraught teenager premiering at Sundance. The songs carry somber, heart-penetrating emotion, which tend to gradually escalate towards a more gigantic, euphoric, almost theatrical outburst, a sort of musical expulsion of emotion, a climax consisting of catharsis if you will.

Face Yourself, and Remove Your Sandals reincarnated my love for emotional, gripping, existential crisis-giving post rock. Track four, Orchid, is a magnificent, dainty track highlighted with a delightful hook about two minutes into the track. Track six We All Die is a serene, haunting take that portrays the dark, depressive nature of the album. And I wish you’d die, flesh of mine. The following track seven Building Blocks is an instrumental journey reminiscent of Explosions in the Sky with a little Jesus Christ-type Brand New sound thrown in there for good measure. Building Blocks also holds a favorite section in this album around 4:45, in which the walking bass pattern in opposite with curling piano keys is beyond addicting to listen to.

My favorite track on the album would definitely be track nine, The Devil is in the Desert. Such a sad, beautiful song. Haunting and gloomy in the beginning, so serene before picking up energy and settling down once more for the remainder of the song, in which the song is spent calmly ticking away like the final seconds of your existence.

This brings me to the other side of the coin that is Face Yourself: The folk-alternative indie sound. While never fully abandoning their post-rock influence, the band touches on more vocally driven sequences in songs such as track two: Midnight Jinn, a catchy, powerful soliloquy and track three: Yellow Bird, which is another one of my favorite tracks on the album for its somber, yet jovial tone. This is one of the fuller indie songs as well, I really enjoy the full sequence of start to finish, the subtle opening, the joyous piano taps, building up to the heroic, epic sequence in the end, a pattern common for Small Leaks but still original enough to be its own entity and perk within the album. The final song The Mind is its Own Place, is a nearly ten minute existential crisis waiting to happen. Nearly every time I listen to this album front to back, I am drawn in to this song, the creepy, unsettling screams in the background, the haunting, tortured piano keys before what I can only define as a rebirth occurs. The music stops and settles for a second before Hancock returns to reunite the bonfire singalong mood we see in the beginning of the album, before, as I stated before, a final conclusion of heroic and euphoric nature.
In conclusion Face Yourself, and Remove Your Sandals is the last thing I expected to review for It Djents, and probably the last thing you would expect reading about, but that does not mean it does not fit, nor does it mean this album is suitable to be ignored. There are a plethora of pleasant tones and sequences in this album, very soft and delicate, yet booming and full of life and raw emotion. Indulge in the atmosphere or surprise yourself with something new, just don’t miss out.
Score: 9/10

FFO: Explosions in the Sky, Brand New, A Great Big Pile of Leaves

Notable Tracks: Midnight Jinn, Yellow Bird, Building Blocks, The Devil is in the Desert -


Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Small Leaks is currently a four-peice that lives in Portland, OR which consists of Jim Mandel Jr., Judd Hancock, London Van Rooy, and Ryan Garner.

The sounds they make have evolved over the years with critics describing their first LP as an intricate math-rock quartet using progressive song structures. Until The World Is Happy; Wake Up You Sleepyhead Sun received praise in Alternative Press, and several other music publications. 

In 2008, Small Leaks acquired Ryan Garner and Rafael Macias, who helped the band evolve their musical catalog for the next two years.
What would have been a massive double LP was cut short when Ryan Garner was hit by a car at the end of 2009 and spent the next year recovering as the band broke the LP into a more manageable 5-track, EP entitled Oak St. Basement.

Almost immediately following the EP release in January of 2011, the band’s cross country tour was cancelled as Judd Hancock had been diagnosed with cancer. Once again, the LP was put on hold as Judd recovered.

Meanwhile, the band had begun writing short weekly etudes, called Monday Minestrone, releasing a new song every Monday for 22 weeks. This was necessary because the band had accumulated an abundant amount of unreleased material that their fans demanded to hear. Ten of these single-session takes were released on cassette through Rubber Brother records.

Just as Small Leaks was ready to begin playing again, Rafael Macias broke his collarbone in a vespa accident and the band was sidelined yet again.

Refusing to be stopped by shattered spines, missing testicles, and enough metal bone reconstruction to make Wolverine cringe, the band hunkered down back into the sanctity of their own Oak St. Basement and self recorded the missing material needed to complete their first full length album in seven years- Face Yourself, and Remove Your Sandals – a ten track auditory painting which should in essence, musically describe what it means to play music in Small Leaks.

Band Members