You'd be forgiven if having never heard of Des Ark you saw shots of Aimee Argote, her body thrashing around, shirt and guitar flying upwards and her hair covering her face, and imagined that her band's music would resemble the same gloriously dishevelled, battered and frenzied actions that their live press shots embody. As the first soft, rippling notes of Don't Rock The Boat, Sink The Fucker's opener 'My Saddle Is Waitin'' begins, it is hard to imagine the possibilities of the post-hardcore-tinted sound that their images alone radiate. Instead what you get is high-pitched reverberation, coupled with a soft guitar melody that is soon added to by Argote's rich voice, her southern American accent shining through, which switches between high head notes and rumbling, almost inaudible lows in the first line alone. The chorus kicks in with upbeat clapping and numerous layers of Argote's vocals creating a harmonious choral sound of her own broad vocal range' it's by no means hardcore, but it's incredible.

Since the band's inception in 2001, Des Ark has been through many incarnations, most notably as a duo featuring drumming from former founding member Tim Herzog of Milemarker. Yet throughout a repetitive series of band break ups and stints as a solo acoustic performer, Argote has been the one remaining cog that has kept the band ticking over. As such, Don't Rock The Boat... is only the band's second full length, following their debut Loose Lips Sink Ships in 2005 and a split EP with Ben Davis in 2007.

In the five years that have followed since their debut full length, the line up has inevitably changed, as have the band member's circumstances, and resultantly there is an apparent shift in both Des Ark's musical style and lyrical content. Whereas Loose Lips...was recorded in just one take, Don't Rock The Boat... was recorded sporadically in different locations over a year. Yet this doesn't make for the disjointed album that one might expect, instead listeners are presented with a collection of songs that have clearly been thought out, drawn out and rewritten and rerecorded to perfection.

Despite this seemingly perfect production, once you've listened to the album numerous times it becomes evident that there is a rather formulaic approach at work when it comes to the song writing on this more recent album. Unlike Loose Lips...¦ and its more raw and mellow approach to a folky and predominantly acoustic affair, Don't Rock The Boat... is an album that tends to follow a repetitive dynamic structure. With the exception of 'Howard's Hour Of Shower' and the album closer 'Two Hearts Are Better Than One''s soft use of xylophones and outro of birdsong, the remaining six songs all begin with soft, stalled beginnings before rising into fully-fleshed entities with booming choruses, wild vocals and banging drums, testament to the root of those aforementioned live shots. This isn't to say that the entire album is static or predictable, in fact much of Des Ark's charm is in their unique approach to performing their songs on record and in a live environment, and Argote's impressive vocal range and the various intricate ways that she plays her guitar mean that individual songs on the album still seem completely different despite their similar dynamic waves.

In many ways Des Ark is very much a one-woman band and despite the familiar comings and goings of various drummers and additional guitarists, the raw energy and frank approach to lyrics that Argote contains in all her material is very much of the same spirit that has kept Des Ark as a continuous entity over the last decade. Don't Rock The Boat... is the perfect summation of this; an album that not only displays the gradual transition of the band through its lyrics and instrumentation, but also acts as a physical piece of a band with such a DIY ethos that they prefer to play in houses rather than on stages. If this isn't the album that propels Argote and co towards the more conventional realms of success that they deserve then I'm not sure what will.

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