Seafood - As The Cry Flows

Bill Cummings 26/04/2004

Rating: 4/5

Seafood return with their third release proper, having, in the years since their last release, endured both a line-up change and the lung problems of front man David. Fans of Seafood need not worry: this is perhaps Seafood's best album to date melancholic vocals and dynamic guitars wash over you on each track. This album contains a fuller instrumental sound compared to their last, courtesy of Ed Harcourt's extra instrumentation, which releases the band to produce a sound braver in scope and musically more eclectic than they have ever produced before.

Opener "Dreamt I Ruled The Sun" has a slow sixties feel that releases and blooms into full view with Caroline's sweet vocals intoning above a beautiful bass-driven lazy rhythm and shimmering guitars. "Heat Walks Against Me" is a real grower, the guitars aching as David recounts a night of thought and deep reflection before exploding in guitars and melody,in the final verse of : "We could tear this whole thing up/find the hand that fits the glove".

Third track "No Sense of Home" possesses a beguiling sound, with country and folk tinges to its laid-back guitars and melodies; the key line "somewhere there's a light on in the darkness that you know" summing up the lyrical themes of this album, the words shining like sunrays of hope through the darkness. Country tinges are also found elsewhere on the album, with the sublime sun-drenched strum of "Milk and Honey". "Summer Falls" is the standout, an absolutely beautfiul song that builds and builds in the verses above a bed of shimmering guitar lines, rumbling bass lines and organs. David's voice is at its most effective, switching from pleading croon to lilting affirmation, but who are his words to? His lover? Or the listener -"don't ask me what the problem is in a world gone mad I remember all that we've been through/In a world gone mad honey". This should be the next Seafood single; it's a simply brilliant statement by a underrated band and could be well be the soundtrack to your summer.

Elsewhere lo-fi indie gems like "Kicking The Walls" and "Orange Rise" play to another Seafood strength, their use of melody - no band in Britain does lo-fi indie this well. You can hear the sound of Sonic Youth and the Pixies in the angular faster-paced guitar songs here; in evidence on "Sleepover" with its sublime sound that matches electronic tinges with driving guitars and pristine melodies, David's voice warm and comforting with words of rebirth: "The waves come crashing in/ And we wash it all away/This is what the future holds/ The waves come crashing in!"

The single "Good Reason" is also another example of how Seafood have stepped up their ambition and dynamism on this album. Its driving bitter sound is reminiscent of prime-era Placebo. The penultimate track "Broken Promises", with its lilting world-weary vocal and shimmering guitars, aches and writhes - this could be the soundtrack to a sunset or a crumpled up letter of regret. Final track "Willows Song" is a haunting ballad of love - a "touch as light as a feather" - a kiss off from an album that will grow on you with every listen, an album that will soundtrack your highs and lows. This is summer; this is "The Cry That Flows".