Seaweed: Spanaway

By 1995 grunge was played out unless you were a frat boy or Bush.  In this environment, grunge’s progenitors, Seaweed among them, needed to re-invent, likely out of both personal motivation and a desire not to get thrown into the dustbin along with the rapidly fading trend.  (Incidentally, the only “grunge” bands I can think of that managed this transition successfully were Pearl Jam, who were always more classic rock-ish anyway; Melvins, who have reinvented themselves every few years; and Mudhoney, who basically just stayed the course.)

Seaweed flounders for a musical voice here, in that it’s not really all that easy to hear where they fit, besides hard, driving rock.  There’s nothing wrong with not being able to be pigeonholed; the point is that they’re branching out in varied ways.  And successfully.  Pretty much all of these songs are really good.

The problem with this album, and it’s an unavoidable one, is that things are mixed so loud, with so much high-end, that it’s an absolutely fatiguing listen.  By the time you get to the seventh track, whose title of “Undeniable Hate” alone wears me out, it’s really hard to do anything but hunch yourself up and brace for the oncoming onslaught.  Things come down very nicely a couple of tracks later for “Assistant (To The Manager),” but by that point you’re already worn out.  The album’s last four tracks are a mishmash of two of its highlights (“Not Saying Anything,” probably the best track, and “Last Humans,” which is almost impossible to appreciate after so much constant loud) and two noise experiments (“Punchy (The Clown)” and “Peppy’s Bingo”).  Other highlights are “Magic Mountainman” and “Defender,” the latter of which seems to foreshadow the TSA with its lyrics about what sounds like a border check and “waiting for hours and hours.”

In short: good songs, some new compositional styles that are generally successful, and fatiguing sound.

Rating:
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-“Free Drug Zone,” “Crush Us All,” “Start With,” “Common Mistake,” “Magic Mountainman,” “Saturday Nitrous,” “Defender,” “Assistant (To The Manager),” “Not Sayin’ Anything,” “Last Humans”
– “Undeniable Hate,” “Punchy (The Clown),” “Peppy’s Bingo”
Filed Between: Seaweed’s Weak and Secret Chiefs 3 (First Grand Constitution And Bylaws)
Song Notes:
After the jump

  1. Free Drug Zone – Well that’s a different sound.
  2. Crush Us All – Probs open.  Love the bridge.  Got that fuzzy sound and then “Get out of my way!”  Totes smooth.
  3. Start With – Probs open.  There’s a loudness problem here.  On the whole disc, really.  It’s not that it distorts, it’s not that bad, but it’s so constantly loud that it’s fatiguing.  Makes it hard to get into the disc when it’s just yelling in your face the whole time.
  4. Common Mistake – Intense guitar.
  5. Magic Mountainman – “With my hands/I built/Epic structures”
  6. Saturday Nitrous – Is this an anti-drug song?
  7. Undeniable Hate – What a tough name.  Just hard to listen to a song with that name now that I’m not 16 anymore.  Get seriously fatigued at this point in addition to the name being fatiguing to think about.
  8. Defender –
  9. Assistant (To The Manager) – They kind of bring it down here, and I think I really like it.  Loves it.  This is up there as a candidate for best track on the album.  Either this or #11, I think.
  10. Punchy (The Clown) – Just as 13, not bad, just what sounds like an outtake of a jam with heavy drums and CB vocals.  Broken.
  11. Not Saying Anything – I’m just sayin’.
  12. Last Humans – This is in the four best songs on the album.  5, 9, 11, 12.
  13. Peppy’s Bingo – Not bad, per se, just a minute-long fade out.  Harmless, but still broken.
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