Review Summary: Jaw-dropping, gorgeous.
As adjectives go, I don't think 'endearing' is particularly complimentary. In most discourses, it holds a position comparable to that of 'nice' - it implies a certain inoffensive nature. In discussing music, it is perhaps an even more disingenuous term than normal. To many people, it suggests a tepid, middle-of-the-road character whose lack of rough edges actually makes it more abrasive - go figure. But none of these people have ever met Hey Rosetta!
This band. There's a song on Seeds
called 'Welcome' which is very possibly the most emotive song I've heard this year. How you write a track so poignant and straightforwardly beautiful about a newborn baby without being sappy or falling back on a single cliché is beyond me. It's beyond the vast majority of bands. But by the time it comes around, it's hardly even a stand-out, such is the quality of the six tracks which precede it.
Hey Rosetta! play a brand of indie-rock (rock, not pop) which draws from a range of influences but doesn't seem tied to any of them. Arcade Fire, Frightened Rabbit and the Weakerthans all come to mind - but only at a stretch. Tender strings wrap themselves around intricate rhythms as lead vocalist Tim Baker croons delicate but spirited stories. In fact, that's a good way to describe Hey Rosetta! as a whole: delicate but spirited. They're capable of writing some of the most simple and gorgeous lines in recent memory, but at no point is it safe to assume that the next line will be one such example. These songs explode, diminish and flip on a regular basis, without warning, and in the most grandiose and impressive fashion imaginable.
Marketed right, Seeds
could make Hey Rosetta! one of the biggest bands in the world. That's how fantastic every song is, that's how fluid and accessible but downright brilliant this record is from start to finish. It's all utterly heartfelt, but its arms are open, too. And yes, endearing, but not in the usual sense, because what's so great about Seeds
is that it gets more and more endearing the louder you turn it up, and you're going to want to turn this one up very, very loud.