Review Summary: Seaweed missed out, even though they were far more deserving of fame.
It’s time for a history lesson. As we all well know, the early 90s were a turbulent time for music for almost every genre. Metal music in general faded out of the mainstream, following the descent of bands like Megadeth and Metallica and they were replaced by the grunge wave. Nirvana led the way and was followed closely by other acts such as Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. It’s safe to say that punk is a form of alternative music and as such, several punk bands rode the grunge wave as well. One of these bands was Seaweed. What Seaweed play is an amalgamation of punk rock and grunge, which is to be expected considering who their contemporaries were.
was released a mere month after Nirvana’s hugely popular In Utero
. This album is much more Nevermind
than In Utero
though. However, it is safe to say that this album is far superior to both those efforts. This is for multiple reasons: The guitars are better, the vocals are better, the drums are preferable and the song writing is also better. This band just fits together extremely well instead of just focusing on one instrument, as so many bands are prone to doing. These guys probably could break out into a shred fest, but they don’t. They know the limits of good song writing and thus they stay sensible. Vocally, Aaron Stauffer is on form to say the least. He’s no opera singer, but he’s listenable and what’s more, he’s enjoyably listenable.
Instrumentally, this band has no individual high points. Everything is just so succinct to the point that if the guitars started showboating, the record just wouldn’t be as good. Stauffer’s vocals create a good counterpoint to Bob Bulgrien’s powerful drumming, while Clint Werner and Wade Neal create excellent tunes and backing tracks with their guitars. It is sometimes hard to tell that there are two guitars on this album, simply because of the co-ordination between both the guys responsible. If someone wanted to be shown how good these guitarists are at their trade, pretty much any moment on the album would suffice to hear that particular element of the band. While the drums stick to a similar beat throughout, there is sufficient power within them to stay streamlined and interesting compared with everything else. The bass is lost for a lot of the time, as it seems to simply follow the guitars. There is the odd break away made, and they’re consistently good.
just begins. No build up or spoken word sample, they just get right into it. The same is true for almost every song on this album (except for Card Tricks
), and as a result of this no frills attitude, this is a very short listen. The whole thing only comes to around 34 minutes. Of course, punk rock was never about ridiculous song lengths, just short and hard hitting pieces which this album pulls off wonderfully.
Nonetheless, the longer songs on here, Kid Candy
and Card Tricks
are also very good listens. That just goes to show that there’s not a bad song on here. While it’s true that some of the songs do sound similar, there is enough variety within each song and the fact that this album is not overly long merits a high rating. Much like there being no instrumental highlight, there is no real song highlight. All of the songs on here are very consistent and very competent.
Looking back through this review, it doesn’t sound as if this album deserves such a high rating. Where this album loses in individual highlights, it gains in steadiness. This album is very strong at what it does and therefore it is very enjoyable for what it is. It’s strange to think that one of the highlights of the early 90s slipped right past mainstream success almost totally unnoticed. It’s also strange to think that the bands that did score it big in the mainstream are of lesser stature than this act. It’s proof that to be successful, there has to be some luck on your side which unfortunately, these guys lacked. What they lose in luck though, they more than make up for in quality; the skills behind their respective instruments, their cohesiveness and all round greatness. That makes this a highly recommended listen for fans of any alternative genre.