Review Summary: I am not alright
The anomaly within their relatively short discography, The Speed of Sound In Seawater’s Red Version
is not so much a departure from the groups former display of math rock stylings but rather a deeper exploration of the underlying indie pop elements that previously remained firmly planted in the backseat. While shimmering pop melodies strewn amongst layers of noodle-like guitar lines may not be the most original thing these days, The Speed of Sound In Seawater’s hook-ridden technical prowess easily conjures them an identity that is unmistakably their own. Whether it be the sugary hooks of singer Damien Verrett or the charmingly sweet guitar harmonies of Jordan Seavers, the flawless combination of math rock and indie pop is strongly apparent throughout the entirety of Red Version
’s absolutely delightful six tracks.
While 2009’s Blue Version
was nowhere near being a sloppy album, Red Version’s approach while obviously more simplistic is refined even further still; from the surprisingly successful juxtaposition of screamo wails with hooks that would seduce your sixteen year old sister, to the overall structuring and complexity of the record, Red Version is obviously an album created on a considerable amount of thought. Exploring a wide spectrum of influences while still maintaining an infrastructure of familiarity (mostly through the albums more math rock influenced sections) Red Version
delves into many different departments of indie music: as “Vixen of the Deep” culminates in a spectacularly catchy electronica tinted finale, other songs like “Formaldehyde” bombastically combine a more straight forward indie rock approach with layers of clean plucked guitars and cascading drumrolls.
Instead of wholly relying on the use of clean vocals, The Speed of Sound in Seawater features not only the enchanting croon of Damien Verret but also the tortured wails and half-shouted calls of Fernando Oliva, vocals that would not be out of place within screamo bands such as Steepless, Someplace to Hide or any other number of bands in the genre. While most songs do actually feature both vocal styles, one of the best examples is easily the disturbingly long titled “Dinner and a Movie on a Post-Apocalyptic Earth: 12 Bottle Caps, Successfully Repopulating the Human Race: Priceless”; utilizing Damien Verrett to his fullest potential, the frontman’s soft vocals command a strong charm but when it comes to Mr. Oliva’s pained howls, his sincerity manages to ensnare just as well.
Whether it be the relaxing, hook-filled opener “Romanticide” or “The Coldest Room In The House” which features dreamy, shoegazing melodies, there isn’t a moment on Red Version
that is not enjoyable. Taking their previous, seemingly narrow-minded sound to new heights, The Speed of Sound in Seawater create amazing music that can actually blend catchy harmonies with artistic integrity. Whatever mood you may be in, Red Version
can satisfying your craving, as it is a truly pleasing album with enough diversity, memorability and most importantly individuality to easily keep itself within longstanding rotation.