The Seshen – “Flames & Figures” (Singles Going Steady)

The title track from San Francisco's The Seshen is a lovely mixture of buzzing, spacey soul/pop.

Adriane Pontecorvo: Beautiful, soulful, and just a little otherworldly. There’s a tight simplicity at the core of both this song and its video: a voice, a woman, an empty room, piano notes spiraling upward. Within such clean lines, it’s that much more rewarding to go outside the box, glitching and syncopating, defying physics. The way the retro beats play together sounds almost childlike, and Lalin St. Juste’s voice is the perfect counterpoint, pouring through the spaces between keys and loops like honey. The only issue I have with this song is that I want so much more of it; at less than three minutes, this song will get a lot of repeat listens in anticipation of the full album release in October. [10/10]

Chris Ingalls: The title track from San Francisco’s the Seshen is a lovely mixture of buzzing, spacey soul/pop, with a crisp sci-fi backdrop adding an interesting dimension. A variety of electronic elements give the song an amazing depth. The arrangement has the potential to come off as busy and distracting, but they manage to find the right mix and it sounds wonderful. [8/10]

Andrew Paschal: The first half of the song has an air of naiveté and wounded childhood innocence, before starting to unravel in the glitchy, electro second half, adopting an almost threatening stance. When the drop comes, it’s subtle yet jarring and genuinely unexpected. The Seshen sharpens the impact by concluding the track at a mere two and a half minutes. The video really emphasizes its unhinged quality. [7/10]

Max Totsky: This new single from California electrosoul outfit is deceptive in the most positive way. When it starts off, airy pianos and hyper-elegant vocals in tact, I thought this was going to be a quickly forgettable MOR soul endeavour, but as soon as the vocals locked into an unsettling loop and the mechanical edge overshadows their previous hospitality, hypnotic bass and sturdy beats hail onto the track and it becomes a new beast entirely. It’s a seamless transition and it makes for a very exciting slab of pop music, with an edge that seems impossible not to compare to FKA Twigs, but a wise contained quality that makes sure the ambition doesn’t get out of hand. [8/10]

Scott Zuppardo: Snazzy trip hop drenched in Portishead with a speakeasy edge and hypnotic come angelic lyrics. [6/10]

Paul Carr: Starts as a subdued and delicate ballad accompanied by simple piano chords. Without warning it stutters, feeling like a glitch in the matrix, before giving way to low, trip hop beats. It comes across as slightly menacing and ominous and becomes a different beast entirely. That change of tack is hard to pull off and the band does so with aplomb. [8/10]

William Sutton: The title track of the Seshen’s latest album is driven by a pulsating bassline and crackling, electronic production from Akiyoshi Ehara, which provides a platform for the airy vocals of Lalin St.Juste to roam. The fact the music is created by a seven-piece band is in some ways more remarkable than the track itself. Inoffensive and largely enjoyable if ultimately forgettable, it never quite hits the mark. [5/10]

Chad Miller: Really interesting vocal work. I wasn’t thrilled with the production that picks up near the beginning. Seemed a little premature until it hit the “I just want to see you” midsection which was an all-around highlight. I wish there was more like it in the piece as opposed to the wasted space of the “Go” section. [7/10]

SCORE: 7.38