NPR logo First Listen: The Calm Blue Sea, 'The Calm Blue Sea'

First Listen: The Calm Blue Sea, 'The Calm Blue Sea'

The Calm Blue Sea's self-titled album comes out August 2. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Courtesy of the artist

The Calm Blue Sea's self-titled album comes out August 2.

Courtesy of the artist

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Not since the rise of Girls has a band come along with a name quite as misleading as The Calm Blue Sea. Sure, moments of placidity dot the Austin band's guitar-driven, largely instrumental epics, but the gentleness exists mostly as a counterpoint to portent, or to crescendos that pummel and swirl. If that description calls to mind the music of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mogwai or Explosions in the Sky, fair enough: All four acts are cut from the same quiet-loud-louder-quiet cloth. But fans of those bands should also fall in love with The Calm Blue Sea, and the odds are good that they haven't had a chance to do so quite yet.

The Calm Blue Sea's obscurity is strictly a product of circumstance: It went on hiatus after self-releasing a six-song album in 2008, so its fame never reached far beyond its hometown. But as more people hear the collision of power and atmospheric gorgeousness in the eight songs on The Calm Blue Sea — which features remastered versions of those first six songs, with the previously unheard bonus tracks "Fire" and "Man of Dangerous Dreams" — the band is bound to make its way into the conversation alongside its better-known peers.

On the live stage, The Calm Blue Sea's songs positively crush; heard through towering speakers, the effect can be almost physically overpowering. On this marvelous album, out Aug. 2, that stormy intensity is cut with delicate, graceful beauty.