Loose and atmospheric, Sepiatone conjures Nico and Sparklehorse.
The opening moments of Sepiatone’s album shows the loose and atmospheric “Sunstroke" gliding over the course of four minutes like a gentle breeze. The ensuing title track, "An Introduction to Sepiatone", doesn’t work quite as well but fortunately the song “Darksummer” sounds like Nico fronting Sparklehorse with its rather rich arrangement off in the distance. Singer Maria Collica has a very alluring voice that draws listeners in, especially when the structure meshes as is the case with “Greenhouse” with its off-kilter approach. But when member Hugo Race’s singing comes to the fore, as is the case on the haunting, dark and mysterious “Unnatural Fire”, the duet resembles Nick Cave teaming up with PJ Harvey. The pace of the album then changes, thankfully, with the funky “Mavaria” and its Latin-Middle Eastern flavoring. It continues perfectly on the spacey, heady “From So Hi” which feels like its creators are on some of hallucinogenic trip. For some it might be an arduous 50-minute-plus listen, but for a good number of fans, it will be a reprieve from the usual cookie-cutter music routinely pre-packaged.