Everyone has rare bands that tunnel deep into your core. Universally respected and lionised acts might break the crust of your emotional faculty, yet stall and break before they reach its epicentre; but there are bands – often innocuous, covert and personal – with the nous and sensitivity to drill precisely the right sweetspot, bestowing a collage of sound and theme which… click. Tall Ships, with Impressions as their second LP, are one of mine.

While it’d be disingenuous to catalogue Tall Ships as something other than rock, it’s also abstractly correct; rather, they’re a rock band in theory. They purvey a holistic dexterity with soundscapes sculpted by androgynous guitars and galloping drums, and other fuck-yeh-rock-music jingoisms; but their compositional pillars – and fanatical obligation to patience – is more aligned with traditional singer-songwriter fare, the emphasis on narrative and mood over aesthetics and presence. To describe them speciously, they apply the metrics of sonorous post rock to the oral-storytelling template that typifies folk and country music.

This elegiac conceit extends to their lyrics; after all, the title is woven from what Ric Phethean delineates as the “tragic events, joyous events and tender moments all leave their marks upon us.” Take Robert Frost-paraphrasing cold opener ‘Road Not Taken’; “it’s a beautiful morning/ in another passing day/ and everyone just keeps going on living their lives/ while you throw yours away.” Placarding self-loathing and existential dread should be indubitably gauche, but the depersonalisation ascribes the morbidity a detached pathos. Impressions is a concept album in that it eschews the contemporary kaleidoscopic practice, where every song deals with something distinct and only loosely correlated. Each track is instead a chapter of a cohesive central import. Phethean ventures with tenacity but is unafraid to rove, like a compendium of classical verse.

The liaison of time and consequence – embodied in Frost’s poetry – acts as Impressions’ fulcrum, its rock, while it refracts deeper and darker excursions. ‘Will To Life’ insolently gazes into mortality with hurtling bass and spurts of silence, and ‘Home’ promotes the plasticity of home as an idea, and as a comfort; that “when it comes we’ll be defined/ by who we’ve loved and left behind.” Even ‘Meditations on Loss’ screams signposting; but it’s subversive, a refutation of the oversimplification and generalisation of grief advice; “I’m caught up in a rage/ don’t know what I’m running from.” There’s so much to us that’s frustratingly, frighteningly unintelligible. Every decision we make is ultimately mediated by being cognisant of our mortality, and every consequence aches because of it.

If our lives are indeed nothing more than the interface between decisions and consequences, maybe – as Phethean describes on ‘Road Not Taken’ – such clarity is permissive. You must “make the most of the moment, as it’s the only thing you’ve got any control over.” This is an inspiring dialect of desperation. The only case where Tall Ships are on-the-nose is the closing ‘Day By Day’, and by then you need it. Just power through.

It’s about regret, and the inescapability of regret, and the connection pregnant in that shared inescapability of regret; and it’s also about disregarding regret, and looking forward, in that connection. “Our missing friend/ the one who’s cast away/ know we miss you so[…] but you flow through our blood/ again and again and again,” is an affirmation of communality, in life and death. Phethean expanded; it’s about “how people and relationships are the only way to cope with the apparent futility of existence.” Impressions is a special record, coloured by climbing compositions as cavernous spaces of reflective quiet. It’s deeply feeling, and deeply felt.