Saturday, 17 July 2010

Unknown Music Review 3: The Sequins: The Risky Woods

The Sequins lead singer sounds a lot like Feargal Sharkey (former lead singer of the Undertones) which is the first thing that hits you when you hear them. However he has developed his vocal delivery on this EP and the vocals seem to sit in the music better rather than dominating it as I felt they did occasionally on their previous CD The Death Of Style.

The Risky Woods EP is engaging danceable indie pop. The Sequins have created nice atmospheric landscapes around a mix of choppy and warbling vocal lines. A gentle but thoughtful record, that would work nicely played when sitting in a park on small tinny speakers. Despite having a gothic tone to the sound and the EP artwork it really came across as a summer record to me. Maybe that's the sun shining outside my window, but I think its more to do with the twinkly guitar bits and the way the bass and drums are often swinging the music along.

The lyrics are evocative and thematically linked in to the sound of the music. They didn't grab me with a wow factor but they didn't stand out as being bad. They serve the music and vibe well, occasionally being a bit wordy for my tastes.

The EP hangs together nicely, although each track adds a new flavours, from the Tarrantino faux western style of Space Travel In Your Blood to the Gothrock distortion driven The Chiming Bells, they fit together really well as a set.

The stand out musical moments were the sweeping building All That We Know with its tasty synth parts and creative use of wah wah sound. And the dual vocals of the last track Offside and Beautiful.

The addition of these deeper vocals is a great companion to the lead singers voice which is very high end. I think that using dual lead vocals and dueting lead vocals on their songs is something the band should consider doing more frequently. There are strengths to high end voices (many of my favourite vocalists such as Darren Hayman or Bernhard Sumner have very high end voices) but it is nice to have the whole range covered and would make their sound more distinctive.

It took too long for the secret track to kick in at the end (although at least it was a separate track, I always hate it when its attached to the last track). It yielded a very nice instrumental haunted house style track. This track was really nice and I thought it could have been used as either an intro track to the album or a straight last track. I couldn't really see why it had been positioned as a secret/bonus track.

The Sequins are Talking Heads meets The Smashing Pumpkins with very occasional touches of Antony and the Johnsons.

A pleasant 5 songs to kick back to in the sunshine with some nicely danceable moments. Good work and definitely worth getting if you're into tight and engaging Indie music with gothic/dramatic undertones.

[Disclosure: I went to primary and part of secondary school with the bass player.]

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