Review Summary: Ain’t it something when everything falls apart?
The maturation process of California based group Seahaven is quite astonishing. If one were to compare the bands most recent release to their earliest work it would be difficult to even tell if it was the same band playing. Ranging from angsty post-hardcore to spacey indie rock, Seahaven has been all over the musical spectrum, often with mixed results. Their latest full length release is no different, as their sophomore album Reverie Lagoon: Music For Escapism Only
struggles to realize its full potential.
One of the most important aspects of this album that necessitates addressing would have to be the vocals of Kyle Soto, and his sudden adaptation of what most would deem an attempt at a British accent. I’m not quite sure exactly what bizarre accent Soto has adopted since his initial records, but it’s here front and center in full force. This singing style is not for everyone, as words are often slurred into one another. This slurring can often produces an indecipherable phrase or two, which is truly a shame, as one of the few highlights of this album are Soto’s emotional and cathartic lyrics. Although this unique vocal delivery can seem fresh at first, through 14 tracks it can grow a tad irksome, so by the time the record is finished there seems to be little to no replay value.
When it comes to the overall feel of this album, there is no description as apt as the actual album title; escapism. Through the entirety of this record, listeners feel as though they are caught up in some distantly imagined land. Although the first quarter of the album borrows more heavily from the emo tropes of smooth, twinkling guitar work and disconsolate lyrics (See “Andreas” or previously “Silhouette (Latin Skin)”), the rest of the album prides itself on the soundscapes it creates through minimalistic and effect riddled instrumentation and reverb drenched vocals. “Highway Blues” features nothing but an acoustic guitar and the aforementioned reverbed vocals, encompassing the laid back mood that Seahaven seems to have been aiming for, while both parts of “Paso De las Estrellas” are short, spacey tracks that have vocals transitioning from stereo to mono again creating the bands desired effect. Yet it becomes a bit tiresome when nearly every song starts off in similar fashion, going nowhere fast often resulting in nothing but fading away. Listeners are presented with an album that seems to attempt to build and build but never reach a climax. Save for token shot in the arm
lead single “Flesh” every song is down tempo and far too similar.
Although Reverie Lagoon: Music For Escapism Only
is a not an album without enjoyable tracks, as a whole it seems that there is just not enough to set it apart from other similar albums. All the ingredients of a great record seem to be present (or were present in prior records) but they just do not come together properly on this record. While this record does at many time feel as though it requires listeners to close their eyes and drift away, the concept just feels trite, as many other bands have done it better before. On their sophomore full length it seems as though Seahaven has forsaken interesting instrumentation for cohesion, which is not necessarily a terrible thing, but through this process have become just plain boring.