This is the 3rd cd from Canadian band Seismic Cry. It’s actually Philippe Gaudet’s (Voice, keys and guitars) project, who tends to sing much like Stuart Staples of Tindersticks or the better known Leonard Cohen at times. Additional musicians that make up the band on this album are Tony Sharkey (Voice and spoken word), Mathieu Poirier (V-drums), Mathieu Catafard (Percussion, cymbals and V-Drums), and Anne-Sophie Mongeau (Saxophone and flute).
The beginning of the recording has narration (narration is also in several of the other songs but never less than part of the charm) and then some dramatic music that works well. The first song is ‘Once Upon A Dream’ and clocks at just over six and a half minutes. It’s dreamy with soothing narration and gentle music. The music that follows the intro, is stunningly
beautiful and reminds me of early David Gilmour quite a lot. Pink Floyd is a strong reference here. The listener is quickly taken to a theatric frame of mind with the entire theme based output. It also has all the great earmarks of the rare and mostly unknown Polish composer Kolonovitz’s one progressive masterpiece vinyl (never has been issued on CD, sadly) release called “Life Is Just A Carnival”. I was surprised by the variety of styles that weave together from song to song. I heard a diversity ranging from Dead Can Dance to Simple Minds, to 60's acoustic folk. Oddly enough, it all sounds cohesive. Although I have not heard previous SC recordings, this is said to be more upbeat and more personal for front man Gaudet. The tri-fold digipak is interesting with many photos to give captions to the song themes. The second song ‘More Of You’ begins like Steve Hogarth (Marillion) with a hushed tone but also a smooth and Phil Collins ( ‘Man on the Corner’) sound which is not only highly melodic, but also moves back into the Hogarth sound in the last to minutes. Track three ( ‘Holiday’ ) is short and quirky like a connecting piece that Brian Eno might have written on “Another Green World”. Track four ( ‘Far From Me’) is where it changes atmosphere and styles the most. You get that Leonard Cohen song style with voice to match. It could have also been at home with This Mortal Coil. The first listen threw me a bit, but then on second listen, it all felt like an above average concept recording. I happen to love the band Tindersticks and this also comes close to that specific sound.
Out of all the things I discovered while listening, I also realized that the whole thing sounded very relaxed. It is this laid back feel and production of the music that lends it a unique and pleasing end product. With a third listen, I was hooked into the whole thing. No doubt this is a nice late night disc, but it’s not without some powerful moments. Track five ( ‘Polaris’) jumps out at you after the first minute, with a good post rock drum beat and a fusion of old Pink Floyd, psychedelic British invasion, 80's cold wave atmosphere and some Mogwai. It’s definitely a cool mix. And the next composition (‘Floating’) brings in the mellow space rock/ lush meditative gem of a tune that is prayer-like. It’s a perfect bridge to the next song (‘So Short Goodbyes’) which recalls the 60's acoustic folk with guitars but then quickly captures that Tindersticks intimate small pub feel. Then magical things enter with the same cut. Snare, strings, and a trippy ending happens. I skip to the last song called ‘Happy Endings’ to describe a tour de force that clocks at 10 minutes 41 seconds. It begins as a reprise of the first tune but like a fine tossed salad, it brings in the entire cacophony of musical raindrops down into one huge crescendo!
You can see the variety and general ambrosia of styles that Seismic Cry put together on this ever intriguing release. I found myself both caught off guard for what was coming next, and then pleasantly fed my daily fix for one of a kind recordings. Part of me would say this is a guilty pleasure, but then my logic knows this is a true diamond in the rough. There is no denying that this combines old school progressive rock in the vein of Pink Floyd/David Gilmour, classic dark pop from the school of Cohen and 60's acoustic folk, some psychedelic, modern post rock, 80's cold wave effects, British folklore, gothic touches, a good dose of quirky, and even a rare bit of humor. That is what makes it so delicious the ears for those who love the eccentric kitchen sink concept album that forces your mind around the many decades of musical platters. I wish I had been able to review this earlier but the holidays stifled me. Alas, I now present you with a CD that I know will most likely fall by the wayside, and not get the attention it deserves. I hope I have been a help in some way to get this disc some life and let me say, I have added it to my personal collection. RECOMMENDED!!!!
Reviewed by Lee Henderson on January 10th, 2012