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Seafood

Surviving the Quiet

(Big Wheel Recreation; US: 20 Mar 2001)

I’ll let you in on a little bit about me. I’m bored with everything in my stereo at the moment. My music purchasing budget has dwindled to a fraction of its former glory. I’m obsessively listening to albums that came out before I was born. Tragically, it seems, I’ve reached the quintessential moment of crisis for a die-hard music junkie: The Plateau, where nothing seems like it will be as good as the albums you already own. So I looked hopefully to Seafood to rescue me from this cruel pop music ennui, to deliver me to that place where, splendidly, satisfyingly, music mattered again.


Maybe Seafood’s full-length debut, Surviving the Quiet isn’t utter salvation, but it is a brief trek into greener pastures. What Seafood presents is a perky package of Pavement-inspired indie-pop, containing no additives or preservatives. It’s clean, fresh, and direct, and impressively focused in its objectives.


The 10-song collection offers a hearty helping of accessible and airy sounds and visions. Opening on the sunny “Easy Path”, the album carries you through its matter-of-fact observances of life and living by remaining real and plain. They walk easily between a number of musical stylings—from the bouncy and bubbling “This Is Not An Exit”, the insistent and crazed “Guntrip”, and folksy “Dear Leap the Ride”. And ballads like “Led By Bison”, and “Toggle” give off a precious magic, cosmic-yet-grounded with honest and awkward vocals over tactile guitar and bass—even when, like “Toggle” does in its middle moments, the whole band seems to go berserk. But that’s the kind of openness and believability that’s fostered across the board. The album’s emotions—whether love, restlessness, confusion, or depression—are absolute and pointed in what they are, and inclined to show the easy blend between sensitivities. It’s Cure-ish in its ability to make frustration sound just as easy as contentment, to make schizophrenia seem like the natural state of things.


Though albums like this can sometimes be a little predictable, even in their frenzy—the proper ratio of slow and fast songs, angry minor-influenced numbers quickly placated by songs that are kinder, gentler—Seafood bring and devotion and triumph to an expertly rendered, sealed-with-a-kiss LP. Maybe they didn’t set out to re-invent the wheel on this one, but they definitely have done their part to keep it rolling, rolling, and clearly pointed on its path. And I guarantee, it’s getting there.

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