Dislocation and nervousness course via Michael Seaside’s fourth solo album, endowing each his woolly guitar rockers and considerate piano ballads with an undercurrent of dread. Whereas that’s a comparatively acquainted feeling in gentle of the previous 12 months, these doomy vibes lend thematic heft to the Melbourne-based songwriter’s cathartic strategy.
Proper from the opening ‘Irregardless’, which declares its clanging tunefulness for practically two and a half minutes earlier than Seaside lastly begins to sing, he appears to be circling the thought of our hopes being unceremoniously dashed. He sings about “dreaming of an imaginary previous” and “oblivion calling you by your identify”, whereas advising the topic to “stroll with the delight of the dispossessed”.
Seaside is aware of a factor or two about combating to belong. After discovering Melbourne’s bountiful music scene whereas on change throughout his ultimate 12 months of uni, the American expat break up his time between Australia and San Francisco. Even after deciding that he wished to make Melbourne his house, he needed to string collectively a protracted collection of visas; at one level, it regarded like he may not ever be capable to come again Down Below. Seaside has since attained citizenship, permitting him to pursue his solo work in addition to his bands Mind Medication and Shovels – to not point out touring stints in Thigh Grasp and an Aussie incarnation of Nebraska singer/guitarist David Nance’s backing band.
That intense busyness – and the background noise of bureaucratic crimson tape – would possibly clarify why it’s been 4 years since Seaside’s earlier solo album, 2017’s ‘Gravity/Repulsion’. Recorded in each Melbourne and the San Francisco space, the brand new report faucets backing gamers on both aspect of that geographical divide, from Thigh Grasp’s Matthew Ford and Innez Tulloch to US songwriter/producer Kelley Stoltz and Melbourne guitarist Chris Smith. In the meantime, Seaside’s longtime collaborator Peter Warden shares drumming duties with Utrillo Kushner from Californian heavy-psych act Comets On Hearth.
‘Dream Violence’ continues Seaside’s break up between acting on guitar and piano, a dichotomy that has lengthy generated comparisons to Neil Younger. Although that is still an correct touchstone right here, Seaside and band edge nearer to the galloping heartland rush of Bruce Springsteen by the tip of ‘Irregardless’, sounding romantic and spontaneous regardless of the darkish clouds bearing down. ‘Spring’ reaches again additional to the dirge-y drag and jangle of ‘Heroin’-era Velvet Underground as Seaside cites existential dread and “my very own meaninglessness”.
Reasonably than function a downer, these brooding themes replicate a wider frustration many are feeling in the meanwhile, particularly because the pandemic’s potential reset of priorities (from particular person wealth, say, to collective welfare) has but to materialise. “We’ve acquired the fashionable existentialism / Mendacity on the manufacturing unit flooring,” sings Seaside on the capitalism-skewering ‘De Facto Blues’. He singles out the phrase “Roma Invicta” (“unconquered Rome”) as a rallying cry for these propping up ailing imperialism, whereas the music expenses on with an impassioned ahead thrust.
On the piano entrance, ‘You Discovered Me Out’ echoes the final album’s suite-like nearer ‘Freddie Desires Of Mars’ however stays intimate and skeletal as an alternative of reaching for rock-opera scope. ‘Generally I Get That Chilly Feeling’ is much more haunting, with Seaside’s voice floating ethereal and virtually disembodied in opposition to a hum of peripheral suggestions. These piano tracks, together with a pair of instrumentals, assist to interrupt up the heady depth of the guitar-driven entries right here.
Seaside sounds loosest and most comfortable on ‘Curtain Of Night time’, first launched as a standalone single in mid-2019. Despite the fact that he sings of “doomsday predictions” whereas rattling off foreboding astrological phenomena, he seems to be sloughing off a few of the preoccupations that canine him elsewhere, main a satisfying gradual burn that’s catchy sufficient to linger within the head lengthy after. In opposition to a lot churning turmoil on Seaside’s half, it peeks out from the album’s midsection like a beacon of hope.
- Launch date: March 19
- Report label: Poison Metropolis Information