08 Oct 2021 - Daniel
Experimental Rock | Dunk! Records | Release date: 22 Oct 2021
Seims are one of those bands that present something of a paradox for reviewers. Should we hone in on their eccentricity or their furious approach to songwriting, the undying melody or their tendency to write larger than life soundtracks that dazzle and lodge themselves in our skulls? The reality is that Seims are a breath of fresh air, a contemporary masterclass in post-progressive whatever-the-hell they are and damning evidence that different is best. The Australians might concoct something of an earful, but it is a privilege to sift through their mesmerising soundscape and try and make sense of the chaos.
They march into the latter stages of 2021 armed with their new album FOUR, which continues their numerical titular trend and is set for release on 22nd October. As the latest in a long line of progressive masterminds hailing from Australia’s east coast, the Sydney natives have long since had a flair for the dramatic - a facet that they have fully embraced this time round. ”The Mountain’s Lullaby” is a beautiful introduction, composed largely of piano and then sweeping violin which guides us like a siren song into the first track proper, ”The Pursuit Of Intermediate Happiness”. Again, there is more in the way of organic instrumentals, this time backed by jazzy drums. The track begins to swell, and guitar begins to contribute towards a crescendo.
Up to this point, you could be forgiven for thinking that we haven’t heard too much of that aforementioned chaos but rest assured, things take a turn for the frenetic once ”A Showdown Without A Victim” hits the rails. If nothing else it’s another example of how Seims score points for their brilliant track names alone. However, it lives up to its impressive moniker by means of towering riffs and a lethal whirlwood of generously applied synths and yet more violin. As with much of the album, it’s a devilish concoction of too many instruments, somehow organised in a fashion that makes perfect sense.
After a momentary lull, ”Shouting At A Brick Wall” keeps the album’s momentum swinging like a pendulum. Bright and airy math rock ploughs forwards, before closing out in a swathe of trumpet and proggy goodness. Comparisons could be made to outfits such as Thank You Scientist, and yet we are immediately thrust into ”Stranded. Isolated.” which takes influence from synthwave, offering a much more electro-heavy approach and an ethereal soundscape that evokes imagery of dark, neon lit cites and evening rain. The track pulsates and soars, sporadically bursting into fits of heaviness before settling back into dreamier space.
Elegance Over Confidence is quite simply brilliant. A GoGo Penguin-esq piano melody leads us into a track that feels huge. There is a sense of orchestra and the contrast from some of the earlier craziness is stark. It is full of nuance and technical skill yet incredibly smooth and delicate in construct. ”Biting Tongues” sees Seims introduce vocals into the mix for the first time on the album, an ingredient that isn’t exactly necessary but adds further dynamic. ”Nuance Lost In Translation” is another slab of serenity, floating delicately and including Eastern guitar plucking towards its finale.
After another orchestral interlude in the form of ”Understatement” we arrive at the final track, ”The Mountain’s Scream”. It is fitting that the album should be bookended by a ‘Lullaby’ and a ‘Scream’. It sums up quite neatly the juxtaposition that Seims conjure within their music - ranging from furniture smashing ferocity to staggering beauty in the blink of an eye. This final track is the kitchen sink of that philosophy. It’s a delectable smoothie of everything on the band’s drawing board, as ethereal as it is beautiful and it’s an enigmatic close to an album that will leave jaws on the floor.
In essence, Seims are one of a kind. They fall neatly into that rare category of band that simply should not work. On paper, their music is a mess, a tangled web of too many ideas that surely couldn’t come together in a logical fashion. However, once lost in headphones we realise that their music is a finely honed art, an intricate hors d’oeuvre that will provide one of the year’s most breathtaking listening experiences to anyone lucky enough to stumble upon it. Soak it up and enjoy; Seims are true masters of their craft.