Review Summary: A wonderfully ambient first offering that fails to live up to its potential in the end.
Hailing from Germany the duo Seabound have placed their flag firmly with the likes of Coventant, VNV Nation and Depeche Mode with their brand of synth heavy beats and monotone delivery. With such a laid back approach it makes for some amazing remix possibilities, tracks such as “Coward” rise above the mediocre and become entertaining dance tracks in capable hands. Where does that put Seabounds debut album No Sleep Demon
though? Sadly it rests firmly in between the good and great categories.
The album opens with “Smoke” and introduces the softly sung/spoken whisper used by Frank Spinath. Barely intelligible (see italics) during “keep the fire burning, keep the smoke coming smoke
” Spinath shows his own style of monotone while drawing comparisons with Eskil Simonsson of Covenant fame, though Spinath is far less powerful and emotional. The track is a strong opener, but ultimately the instrumental part truly show a glimpse of what is to come in later tracks, this ambiance being one of No Sleep Demons strongest points. Another thing that “Smoke” highlights is the lyrics, Seabound is not afraid to use their vocabulary to their advantage. The only true variation from the formula introduced here is the use of samples in the upbeat “Exorcise.” They prove to be a nice addition, but ultimately do nothing for the album except providing a bit of comedy in the line “jesus christ died with a hard on.”
The progression of the album is kept simple with the slow track “Point Break” providing the dividing line between sections. This only goes to showcase the back laden tendencies of the album, even being only 10 tracks the last six show far more of the bands potential. Tracks such as “Dunnocks” and “Hooked” feature some of the best, and rather comical at times, lyrical content to be found on the album as seen in “the richmans far to fat I don't like his grin, all the women try to mate with him.” The beats are far more prevalent than in the first half of the album, and the monotone vocals gain subtle levels of variation that add to the emotion of the tracks. Whatever the band decided to channel is shown in its fullest with the track “Torn.” Featuring the catchiest lyrics on the album the track builds momentum, throwing off the shackles of the beginning tracks to burst into the energy that is the aforementioned beats, synths, and emotion. With lines “if you love me you will find me” and “as white turns black I know it's light these pictures lack, a tree of life that has no leaves I'm feeling grief beyond belief” this is the perfect track for those interested in the band, and when remixed can dominate the dance floor.
Seabounds No Sleep Demon
is comparable to a bag of marbles. When you first get them you're rather excited, and start to play with them all equally. Soon though you find yourself favoring that one catseye, or the one that looks like a cloud in summer and after a few days the rest of the marbles stay in the bag being ignored. While the album shows promise and ample amounts of ambiance I can't help but wonder what it would be like if it was filled with marbles that kept my attention, and that is ultimately its downfall.
*If you have the chance check out the vocal version of “Avalost” found on the re-release No Sleep Demon V2
, it's worth your time.