Tercer disco de los Waterboys. Despues del magnifico "A pagan place", editaron este poderoso disco lleno de influencias celtas. Violines, viento y finas guitarras hacen que la musica de Scott te eleve, desde "Whole of the Moon" hasta "This is the sea", cielo y mar, filosofia y sentimientos aunados en unas maravillosas melodias. Un clasico imprescindible editado con un cd extra en 2004.
Expanding the epic, multi-layered sound of A Pagan Place, This Is the Sea is a more ambitious yet a more successful record, since it finds Mike Scott at his melodic peak. Consequently, the album has enough strong, accessible moments to make his indulgences forgivable. [The album was expanded in 2004 to include an entire second disc of material.]
Released in October 1985, This Is the Sea was the first Waterboys album to fully capture the "big music" that Mike Scott had been cultivating on the band's two previous recordings. Like A Pagan Place, the shimmering 12-string guitars, rolling piano, and arena-style horn sections serve as the backdrop for Scott's political, spiritual, and inspirational lyrics, but this time around the results are downright mythical. Inspired by the Velvet Underground's mastery of the two-chord song, as well as the writings of C.S. Lewis, George MacDonald, and Dion Fortune, the nine tracks on This Is the Sea are veritable wolf-howls of self-discovery. Scott's challenge to the listener on the spirited opener "Don't Bang the Drum" -- "Well here we are in a special place/What are you gonna do here" -- serves as the blueprint for the entire work, demanding that the search for "The Whole of the Moon" and "The Pan Within" be taken together. Karl Wallinger, who had joined the group halfway through A Pagan Place, became a one-man orchestra on these sessions, providing everything from harmonium to celeste, ably fleshing out Scott's vision. The overall effect is stunning, especially on the larger-than-life title track. "This Is the Sea" is an anthem that works on almost every level; it's a stadium-sized rocker (without any drums), a life-affirming sermon (without being preachy), and, like the rest of the album, an over the top '80s spectacle (without being indulgent). EMI's 2004 reissue features the original remastered album as well as a 14-track bonus disc. This Is the Sea was culled from an arsenal of nearly 40 songs, and unlike 2002's supplemental Fisherman's Blues, Pt. 2 -- on which many of these tunes wrongfully landed -- the omitted cuts are indicative of the record for which they were intended. A longer rendition of "Spirit" -- originally released on the Whole of the Moon 12" -- reaches new heights with its elongated refrain of "high on the wine of life," and the newly uncovered "full-length" version of "Medicine Bow" incorporates a brutal two-and-a-half-minute piano freakout that owes more to David Bowie's Aladdin Sane than it does Van Morrison's Astral Weeks. There's a reverence for the band's anthemic contemporaries that's oddly charming -- "Beverly Penn" and "Sleek White Schooner" sound like Anglo-Springsteen tunes with Anthony Thistlethwaite filling in for Clarence Clemens -- and a previously undisclosed flair for the avant on the instrumentals "High Far Soon" and "Even the Trees Are Dancing" -- the latter reappeared with lyrics on 2003's Universal Hall as "Always Dancing, Never Getting Tired" -- shows a band in its creative prime. The liner notes are fascinating as well, with Scott pointing out the influences, contributions, and exhaustive recording techniques in amiable detail, opening the door to the group's most defining period like a peat fire on a wet winter night. The Waterboys have always been attributed to Scott as a pseudonym, and rightly so, but for a brief moment in the mid-'80s they were a union of musicians and artists at war with apathy, and This Is the Sea was their manifesto.
The Waterboys - This Is the Sea (Doble CD) (UK Alternative Pop 1985/2004. wv)