Seeland – How To Live (4AD/Rhythmethod) CD REVIEW

The members of Seeland formerly worked with Broadcast and Plone, and this group exhibits characteristics of both but sadly, with little of the promise or aplomb.

Broadcast specialise in electronic music with vocals that evoke a time gone, without ever descending into the twee territory of Belle & Sebastian or Stereolab. They also excel at texture, which is necessary to avoid a synth sound that’s just too clean and saccharine. Unfortunately, that’s exactly the pit that Seeland fall into on How To Live, which starts out with some promising synth drapery, but all too soon starts to float like a lonesome plastic duck on its analogue bubble-bath.

What they do, they do over and over again, and it’s a very warm, comforting, safe sound that could be connected to the current trend for hypnagogic pop, or what some members of the music press call “hauntology”. The last Broadcast album was very much in that space, sounding like a lost transmission from some musty, half-imagined, half-remembered and very British 1960s. Seeland’s music, however, has a very conventional shininess, a clarity that’s without mystery or depth, and the singing reminds of that droll “folktronica” group, Tunng, but without their inventiveness or sonic trickery.

Somewhat trite and ultimately schmaltzy, How To Live is rather disappointing. GARY STEEL

SOUND = 3.5

MUSIC = 2.5

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