SEELAND: How To Live (LoAF)


Posted on Oct 6th 2010 01:30 am

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Seeland: How To Live

How To Live
Lo Recordings/LoAF 2010
10 Tracks. 34mins50secs

Amazon UK: CD | DLD US: CD | DLD Boomkat: CD | DLD iTunes: DLD

Seeland is the meeting of two like-minded musicians, both hailing from Birmingham, who have, through their respective previous bands, contributed to the retro-futuristic movement which emanated from the second English city during the mid nineties. A former guitarist with Broadcast, Tim Felton left the band after their second album, Haha Sound, and joined forces with ex-Plone Billy Bainbridge, who had been part of the Broadcast caravan during the band’s 2003 tour. Brought together by a common love of Neu!, Harmonia and Cluster, amongst others, the pair began working together and released a first single and EP on Stereolab’s Duophonic in 2005/6, eventually resulting in a first full length, Tomorrow Today, published on Lo Recordings’ sister imprint LoAF last year.

Now also counting bass player Neil McAuley, Seeland continue to develop their particular blend of electronic pop on their second album, How To Live. But, while the overall sound shares with its predecessor an obvious affinity with dreamy electronic textures and refined melodies, there is here a newly found confidence and a much more immediate feel to these songs. Tomorrow Today was recorded over quite a long period of time, but for How To Live, the band chose to bring the conception and recording time to a much shorter scale and capture some of the spontaneity of the live environment.

Casting deceptively simple tunes over gentle instrumentations, Seeland create very effective little pop songs, but behind this apparently innocent facade lies the essence of the band’s sound. Right from album opener Black Dot, White Spider, the imprint of their influences is clear, yet this is considerably softened by Felton’s linear vocals. Later on, the trio combine playful electronics, acoustic brushes and upbeat melodies to bring songs such as Afterthoughts, Local Park or How To Live to life in quite colourful ways, while the gentler Cardinal, Armour or Been So Long can at times evoke the naive electronica of Plone. But it is with the superb Awake In A Dream and Recall that Seeland really hit the spot, their clear-line melodies, beautiful sound structures and discrete yet effective vocal harmonies making these perfect stylish songs in the purest pop tradition.

Seeland have undeniably found their niche. Away from the mainstream, they craft an artisanal form of pop music which is overall very charming. Seeland may be harking back to an era where experimentation was a way of life, but they temper that with a taste for simplicity which give their songs a much welcome dream-like feel.


Seeland | Seeland (MySpace) | LoAF
Amazon UK: CD | DLD US: CD | DLD Boomkat: CD | DLD iTunes: DLD

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