Seely, Winter Birds (Koch)

Posted May 1st, 2000 by admin

Winter Birds
By: Eric G.

Seely sounds like Stereolab only on the most basic level; careful listening reveals that Seely inhabits its own unique and heavily stylized world. The bass tones and the propulsive rhythms are warm and fleeting while the guitars pluck out beautiful arpeggios that float above the fluttering soundscapes. Electronic bleeps and blips flesh out the esoteric atmosphere. The vocals are distant and delivered with calculatedly bored indifference. There is an overwhelming sense of foreboding on Winter Birds, Seely’s third album.

The songs are very personal, dealing with loss, label embitterment, and dissolving relationships. The textures are so entreating that the dismal subject matter is palatable without being overbearing. Seely’s music is escapist with windows to its underlying influences like the Cocteau Twins and The Cure. The band manages to incorporate a semblance of John McIntyre’s incessant percussive technique as well. And there is, of course, a Stereolab vibe in there for sure.

Winter Birds has an icy detachment- the way the songs sound versus what’s being said doesn’t quite compute. The lyrics are open and sincere, but the music shrouds emotional involvement with cold, electronic aloofness. This technique is deliberate and gives the music a timeless quality. It’s easy to tune out what’s being said and just listen to the way it’s said. Winter Birds is headphones music to be sure- it’s like having someone whisper in your ear.

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