At the risk of sounding corny, Portland, Oregon-based collective Small Sails has created the type of album that reminds you of how good life can be. Similar Anniversaries will appeal to the electronic crowd and indie rock kids alike. While glitchy enough for the knob twiddlers, it will attract others with its gentle guitar-seasoned melodies. Vocal phrases are used as percussive punctuation, emitted as a series of oohs, ahhs, and oh yeahs.
“Aftershocks and Afterthoughts” remains the perfect evidence of this album’s brilliance, featuring digital clicks and keyboard harmonies interweaving under wordless lyrics that are sung with childlike joy. “This Flimsy Traveling Machine” is not too far behind, as a “la la la, hello hello” chorus is elevated by percolating rhythms and what sounds like a xylophone sailing above the clouds. Perhaps this was the soundtrack for the man who flew 200 miles with balloons strapped to his lawn chair. Irresistibly inviting and impossible to frown through, Similar Anniversaries is ten audio snapshots of what joy, dreams, and constant compassion sound like.