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Seaworthy: The Ride

Eden Miller


The Ride

Label: Jetset
US Release Date: 2002-01-22

Murmuring unintelligible secrets, Seaworthy's The Ride just shimmers along without a true destination. Always subtle, always intangible, these thinly arranged songs dance around as if they are lighter than air. While this effect may create a serene atmosphere, The Ride doesn't have enough substance for it to truly succeed. As much as the uplifting, understated beauty that is here can be enjoyed, The Ride unfortunately fails. Any intentions it had end up completely confused and discarded.

Beginning with the appropriately named "Open the Gates", Seaworthy invites listeners into its world. With meditative guitars and gently hypnotizing percussion, the mood is set immediately, providing a strange, almost otherworldly ambiance that colors the rest of the album. "Open the Gates" transitions into "I Met You in the Candy Store", which further elaborates on this mood. Unpredictably, though, by the time listeners reach "Identifying the Body", the tone of the album has changed to something a bit heavier and a bit darker. The switch, while not out of character for The Ride as a whole, is still a strange one, as if the members of Seaworthy suddenly decided they wanted this album to be something else. It is around this point that The Ride begins to fall apart and, by the time the excessively dramatic "The Ride (Part 2)" plays, with its ocean-wave background, Seaworthy has just become disappointingly weird.

The Ride does have its moments, however, from the fragility of "Sea Manta" to the gently communicated pain of "In Anticipation of the Day", both instrumentals. Seaworthy tends to succeed more when it relies purely on music to reveal its ideas. Once the band begins to include real-world sounds, like bits of spoken word recordings and nature sounds, the overall effect of displacing the listener from reality begins to disappear, and The Ride loses what little motivation it had. Instead of floating around somewhere outside what is known, Seaworthy sadly drags itself down by the end of The Ride, leaving listeners questioning what they were supposed to take away from this album, if they were supposed to take away anything at all.

Seaworthy's vocals, while having the appropriate airiness, are too often obscured by the music and do little to convey any meaning. Seaworthy's music is too wispy to provide much to hold onto, and the vocals and nearly nonexistent lyrics don't do anything to change that. If Seaworthy removed these elements entirely, then The Ride could be taken as a mere mood piece. Instead, the vocals seem to want to say something, but end up saying nothing and distracting listeners from finding a purpose in The Ride. The vocals further bring the album down and away from the initial promises of transcendence.

It's easy to want to like Seaworthy. The band seems to want to reveal and create beauty and, in the grace with which is has created The Ride, it does manage to accomplish this. But by the time the album ends, Seaworthy has left little behind for listeners to take away. While it may have had a journey in mind while creating The Ride, Seaworthy neglected to choose the ultimate destination, and in the end, listeners are left lost.

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