This is a contender for the math/prog release of the year. Maybe just release of the year. Four tracks offer over 30 minutes of music that bends and warps genre’s into a purely organic bloom of complex and understated mastery of alternative music. That sentence may be a lot to take in, but so is this music.
The past releases from SEIMS had a playful party-math rock sentiment to them, written solely by Simeon and employed in a live setting by various other players to bring it to life. That’s all gone now. So is the CKY-ish duelling guitar > bass > synth lines. Gone is the programmed drumming and semi-repetitive loops. Gone is the crisp, tightly woven layers of recorded instruments…all balanced and perfect. Gone is the ‘no-vocal’ approach and instrumentality.
All gone. This beast which stands in its place is something else entirely. A group made this. Some unhinged ambitious bunch of overachievers made a thing.
Admittedly much of the initial impact of this release (for me) came from appreciating just how different this is to anything which came before it. If you are unfamiliar with SEIMS earlier work, a quick spin through their bandcamp will show you just how much of a departure this is. More importantly though is the place where they have now arrived.
‘3’ relies heavily on a subdued Bass VI (google it) throbbing beneath rather prominent drums blistering with virtuosity and chaos. (*drummers take note > this is drummers music) Synth lines feel awkwardly borrowed from the 80’s and strangely work very well instead of guitar leads as much as the guitars add texture in a way that others might use synths. SEIMS took the math rock idea and flipped it on it’s head.
Guitars are very important to the material on ‘3’ but for a lot of the time feel quite understated and background. Then a sudden alignment occurs and it all clicks together forming a huge cohesive prog-unit. Riffs take form out of swelling licks and rumblings and it gets big! When the pieces fall back to their respective corners..the noise and mess is just superb and ambivalent to any kind of syncopation! It’s hard to explain…as if it all falls apart only to form up again. There’s gorgeous cleans, chimey and jangly. There’s walls of noise created by all manner of pedals and toys. Vocals have both feature moments and brief appearance, quite new and unexpected. There’s even brass sections which appear from nowhere for fucks sake, adding a huge lift to the sound complimenting and supporting the melodies and chords.
See the inspired closing track ‘Imperfect Black’ below for evidence that not all prog is created equal. Featuring a gobsmacking vocal performance from Louise Nutting (War Time Sweethearts) you’d be hard pressed to find anything like this elsewhere. Just magic.
I consider this essential listening for the discerning post-genre fan. You cant anticipate a damn thing and you wont see it coming. The dynamic mixing and production values would set this apart regardless of the musical calibre, fortunately for those who will take the plunge with ‘3’…you will be rewarded with both.