Victory at Sea had their rudimentary beginnings in 1994 when Mona Elliott, late of Taang! recording artists Spore, hooked up with Swirlies singer/guitarist Christina Files, who had offered to contribute her drumming to the Elliott solo repertoire. Mel Lederman, veteran of various Boston bands, was later invited to play bass. The three became a full-time working entity by 1996 and over the next two years released two singles and an EP on the Villa Villakula and Magic Eye labels.
The Dark is Just the Night, their full-length debut on Slowdime Records, followed in 1999. Christina then left the band and spirited upstart Fin Moore got called to take over the drum seat. It's then that Kimchee Records arrived on the scene to release a split EP with Victory at Sea and Helms as well as their sophomore long player Carousel in 2001. By 2002 Finny was gone and Carl Eklof had arrived, emoting like original drummer Files but also pushing the envelope like Moore did. And just in time to give live support to their latest album The Good Night comes Taro Hatanaka on violin. Hold it, wait! It's January 2003 and drummer #4 has arrived in the person of Dave Norton.
Victory at Sea make sound that is as morose as it is beautiful, as stunning as it is depressive. Mining deep psychic strata, the trio skillfully expose raw nerve to dim light, knowing when to musically tiptoe into trauma as well as how to break through with sonic ferocity. In this music-as-commerce world they can almost sound too real. If you haven't already fallen victim to the twin sirens of derivative song and rock gloss, you should find their catalog utterly seductive, in turn warming and chilling in its depths
No, the melancholy hasn't lifted in Victory at Sea's third full-length. The Good Night is another long day's journey into the pervading darkness. The sadness is expressed here from the outset with a trio of furious rock songs that smolder with repressed rage and introduce an emotional landscape similar to that of their previous album Carousel. There is immediacy to these tracks, which number among the band's strongest offerings. Mona Elliott wails on voice and guitar; new drummer Carl Eklof pounds, retreats, then pounds again; and Mel Ledermen lays down his bedrock bass.
But then in the succeeding songs The Good Night starts to get quieter... and quieter. Lederman brings some piano into the mix, the guitars are toned down and drums are muted, and everything gets more exposed. It's a brave move, as Victory at Sea's traditionally dire lyrical concerns are musically rendered with a stark simplicity never before assayed by the band. In the process they discover a new archetype for their sound, and The Good Night finds its soul.