Last time I checked, the state of experimental music was pretty fair. Bands like Black Dice, Wolf Eyes, Boredoms (now V'redoms), Lucky Dragons, and others are keeping the flame alight while other artists incorporate influence and lesser noise to their music. So British band Seefeel have returned to present eleven new songs in their experimental electronic/rock style with a fittingly self-titled album. For those who remember Succor and (CH-VOX), this will be a somewhat welcome return as much as a change in the flow of things. With a flow that borders concept album changes and songwriting that seems more rooted in Krautrock than ever, Seefeel may have reinvigorated themselves after an eleven year hiatus from LP releases. By finding this new sense of life in their music (this is almost a Lazarus taxon of a band here), as many issues as reasons to rejoice are created resulting in a decidedly lopsided effort to welcome the band back.

In front of my feet lies the slightly bloated corpse of a horse. I know it is dead, has been dead for some time, and yet my feet return to its side. I am kicking this dead horse. Over and over again I am kicking it until I can no longer stomach knowing my feet are pummelling a rotting carcass. Much like how this horse has been removed from the 'mortal plane' and is now a dead horse I beat, so has my filter for 'accessibility' been removed from a plane. And now I beat the horse again. There needs to be a semblance of self-editing or at the very least the feel of excitement palpable enough to make my listening experience transcend the mere routine, no, habit, of digesting music. Confession: I listen to the same albums a lot for periods ranging from a week to a month. Why? Because I like getting to know my music on an intimate level to the point where I know the changes and can start to approach it from a production aspect fully and appreciate the sonic craftwork as much as the songwriting. With Seefeel I have gone to that stage (albums also in those ranks: Gaucho, Wicker House, and The Future Of What), and have made mental notes about this album to the degree where I can list the things off that I take pause with. Mainly it's the lackluster feel a lot of the loops feel like they have. When pummelled with the same drone long enough, the listener can tell things about it. Take, oh I don't know, anything by White Rainbow or even AnCo, those are loops crafted with attention to each detail, down to the personal level. With tracks like 'Rip-Run,' 'Dead Guitars,' and 'Making,' I can't help but feel like they just kind of were happy with what was made and just moved on to the next part. The banality of a loop is the pitfall of rhythmically oriented parts, something that this album seems to forget instead relying on overemphasized bass and dodgy electronic washes to cover the holes in songwriting that were once filled by the band's brimming creativity. Rest assured, previous fans, the expected motions of distorted sounds carrying the beat is used well here (as always) but feels pale and anaemic. The drums are all cleanly snipped and quantized elsewhere, lacking the proper feel at times or instead recalling moments of Drum's Not Dead at its best, a dichotomy that is frustrating and breakneck between tracks. The sequencing follows a simple pattern of Short Song/Interlude/long song, only breaking at the end to pummel with almost twenty consecutive minutes over three songs that could have been pared down to two.

Closer 'Sway' is the single most infuriating thing I have heard yet this year. Even the hardcore noise assault of Burial Hex was easier to listen to repeatedly than this single, almost ten -minute, song. Find the song 'Snowing Circle' by Lucky Dragons, take the first twenty seconds, and then chop that up for 9:17. That's what the last song is like, but without the pleasure and warmth of 'Snowing Circle.' And then there's 'Airless,' a song that is dominated by snatches of feedback and delay fuckery with a single snare sample and some Frippertronics-for-dummies style guitar to tie it all together, all six minutes of this song that easily could have been four minutes long and dropped some of the more meandering overdriven guitar parts to make it seem less noodly and jam band-y. That felt good. The catharsis of finally boiling over doesn't add anything to the experience, and actually harms my outlook now. Upon first listen, I was somewhat happy with this album to be honest. But over time those feelings faded, and quickly at that. Now by this time around, it's almost a task to get through the longer moments of this album, and that distinct lack of true staying power is where the weakness lies.

So at the end of the day, what we have here is something lackluster and, after repeated goes through, almost banal. Not only does Seefeel manage to build up hopes only to dash them, it does so in the most unimaginative way possible. I would have accepted this collection in a more edited form, maybe, to alleviate the issue of slogging through the longer songs but it feels like too little too late in this case. For those rare moments of light shining through the otherwise cicada filled skies I cannot despise this album. I can, however, try to represent my own feelings and opinions towards this album by giving a rating that is almost painful to give.

Photobucket