Anything less than unique would be a disappointment from the recording-company arm of local Polyphonic Spree lovers Good Records. That Water Sphere is overwhelming in its orchestration and completely bizarre, therefore, is no surprise. But who'd have thought the first DeLaughter-free band signed to Good Records would be so influenced by Andrew Lloyd Weber? As if to remove any doubt this album will be unlike anything you have ever heard from a rock band (let alone one from Texarkana), Water Sphere opens with "Caught in My Trap," a sweeping, theatrical number that crams in electronic noise, pounded pianos, crunching guitars and a synthesizer. It is followed, naturally, with a bit of spy-movie electro lounge in "Bubblecraft." The album grows even more grandiose on "Elephant Island," a waltz that narrates the stranded Endurance crew's descent into madness on Erwin Shackleton's 1916 Antarctic expedition, and on "Jekyll and Hyde Suite," a gothic epic with timpani, church bells, organ and synthesized strings that would make the songs from its hair-metal musical namesake seem minimalist in comparison. Water Sphere includes a few retooled songs from Pilotdrift's self-released Iter Facere, plus a few new pieces--both are reason enough for old fans to pick up Water Sphere, and if you're new to Pilotdrift, now's the time to get on the boat.


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