On its new album The Narrows, United Waters removes the aural fog covering its earlier releases with a luminescent view of its song craft. This new transparency has an airy clarity that highlights the outfit’s woozy guitars in microscopic detail. Rock is present, but the album’s rhythm section lingers behind in a deep distance creating the group’s most stark and intimate release to date.
With proof from bare-bones ballads like “Least Turn” and “Move the Distance”, categorizing United Waters with other demented pop margin walkers such as ‘90s Siltbreeze Records, Hall of Fame, and The Tall Dwarfs is all too easy. However, United Waters resemble anything but a “pop sensibility” as their raw materials are too willfully damaged, busted up and taped together to transmit such a style. Still, reasonable facsimiles of said influence do exist. The track “Even the Moon” is reminiscent of nothing less than a Nikki Sudden demo cassette grinding through a cheap tape deck while “Mile Wide” recasts chorus-pedal proto-goth as a 4AD 12” with the grooves pressed off-center.
The album’s title track ultimately has the last word with its swirling, off-key leads uncoiling in a shambling crescendo that re-conjures Sullivan’s earlier demolition works. Though never quite attaining a full-on climax, the song’s exquisite restraint caps the album with a locked-down coda that lingers far longer than its noise-rock antecedents, opting instead to offer its heavy hurricane winds in slow motion. (Tom Carter, 2017)