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Music Review

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Artist: Seims
Label: Birds Robe Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 22 October 2021

Birds Robe Records releases Four, the new album from Australian Experimental Rock project Seims. The LP was written and produced by Simeon Bartholomew – who also sings, plays guitar, bass, piano and synthesiser. He is joined by Plini drummer Chris Allison, Kat Hunter and Sisie Bishop on violins, and Tangents/FourPlay member Peter Hollo on cellos. Four is a concept album of sorts, inspired by the Myer Briggs indicator of personalities. The idea that written words can change context, inference or intent depending on a person’s demeanour and speaking tone, and ultimately how it’s received depending on the receiving person’s personality and cognisance. Here, it is all about unintentionally misconstrued conversations. The album is available for download...

'A Showdown Without a Victim' kicks us off, and we’re thrust straight into a Prog Rock nightmare of weird drum beats and even weirder music, driven by synthesisers. This is coarse and pretentious nonsense. Experimental it may be, but there is no hook and only the basest of a repeating tune. Later in the song there is an attempt to capture a plaintive atmosphere. However, it’s short-lived and included within a balance which is all wrong. The synthesiser in 'Biting Tongues' is straight out of the 1980s. The introduction of vocals is tentative – almost whispered. The heavy guitar sound rekindles an interest, particularly when a solo enters the fray and the vocals become a little more urgent. I do realise it’s purposeful, but it seems like the band is completely out of sync – only a stone’s throw from Freeform Jazz. The track is seen-out by a cello.

A piano intro segues into a warmer keyboard and full band sound, in 'Elegance Over Confidence', alienated only by the percussion. The guitar effect is a little similar to bagpipes and reminiscent of the Big Country sound, but more Industrial and Electronic. This is undoubtedly the best offering so far, as I’m not cringing at the ‘cleverness’. 'Nuance Lost in Translation' slowly builds from the lightest touches into a storm of confusion accompanied by the cello. 'Shouting at a Brick Wall' steams ahead at full pace in a much more comprehensible and traditional style. 'Stranded; Isolated' is a phased approach with subtleties and alternate thrashing with keyboard and bass touches. 'The Mountain’s Lullaby' is a piano and cello piece. However, the sound is unrefined approaching raucous. The production could be a lot better – certainly warmer.

'The Mountain’s Scream' pulls out all the stops at being irritating. The attempt at a soaring movement just makes your ears sore! I enjoy attempts at something a little different within Rock and Metal sub-genres, but this is hardly new; being something between Avant Garde and meandering Progressive Rock. 'The Pursuit of Immediate Happiness' hooks us up to sadness with strings and an electro-acoustic guitar. This has more feeling, but could do with a toning-down of the drums. Nevertheless, this is at least a palatable offering. Understatement brings the album to a conclusion with a curious acoustic piece incorporating cello and some percussive noises. This type of Experimental Rock really isn’t for me, I’m afraid. But if this is what floats your boat, give it a try.


Ty Power

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