Feb 2018 23

Seeming - SOL: A Self-Banishment RitualSeeming
Category: Synthpop / Gothic
Album: SOL: A Self-Banishment Ritual
Blurb: Alex Reed and Aaron Fuleki follow up Madness and Extinction’s world view and sound palette and expand upon them, both musically and conceptually, in an album that’s as much about the message as it is about the music.


The evolution of ThouShaltNot into Seeming is an interesting one. ThouShaltNot was a virtual mash-up of futurepop and cabaret style vocals and keys that had when the band turned into Seeming and released Madness and Extinction took those sounds and paired them down to something closer to synthpop with theatrical vocals. But what Seeming gave up in heavier beats was made up for in meaningful lyrics dealing with topics extinction and the world ending through nuclear holocaust. But on the follow-up album, SOL: A Self-Banishment Ritual, the band builds upon the ideas of Madness and Extinction and expand the sound into something bigger and more ambitious than anything they had done previously.

The album opens with “Doomsayer,” which feels like the mission statement for the album in terms of both production and concepts. Alex Reed is speaking directly to the listener, saying that he knows what it feels like to have your message go unheard with lyrics like “Will the world finally get the message if I hide it in a pop song? Well the second verse is here already. Time is tight.” Seeming also shows off new elements that are used throughout the rest of the album – there are live strings that are essentially carrying the melody for the whole song, there are occasional horns thrown for flourishes, and a low bed of xylophone that is being played under the entire track. One of the other elements that shows up is funk, mainly by way of bass and electric guitar. One of this albums standout tracks, “Zookeeper” uses the funky guitar along with cascading strings to create something that comes close to disco. One of the other things to make it a standout track is that there are low, monotone vocoded vocals that are present from beginning to end that create a kind of counter to the main lyrics being sung. And the lyrics feel like a direct sequel to “Goodnight London” with the world having all but ended, leaving one lone animal and zookeeper left together. Then there is the soulful track “Stranger,” which resembles a standard pop song more than the other tracks, using guest singer Sammus to deliver the chorus and bridge. “I Love You Citizen” sounds like a love song directly from Oceania to one of its lonely citizens in 1984, while “Feral,” “The Wildwood,” and “At the Road’s End” all mention going into forest to add to the post-apocalyptic feel of the album. SOL ends on an uplifting high note with “Talk About Bones” with the shouted chorus line “What sets your soul on fire?”

With a journey from a more standard goth style to a more refined synthpop sound, and now into a fuller, more orchestrated production, this writer feels Seeming has transcended the genre trappings and elevated to the ranks of avant-garde artists such as Peter Gabriel. That’s not to say this album will be for everyone; indeed, it took this writer quite a few listens before he began to appreciate the entire album and not just a couple of songs. But this is an important band in our corner of the musical world and SOL cements a place in it.
Track list:

  1. Doomsayer
  2. If I Were You
  3. Zoo Keeper
  4. The Unspeaking
  5. Strangers (feat. Sammus)
  6. Knowledge
  7. Feral
  8. Phantom Limb
  9. The Forgotten Room
  10. I Love You Citizen
  11. The Wildwood
  12. At the Roads End (feat. Merzbow)
  13. Talk About Bones

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Artoffact Records
Website, Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, YouTube
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3 (Standard Edition)
Amazon MP3 (Deluxe Edition)
Amazon Vinyl
Storming the Base CD
Storming the Base Vinyl
Douglas Leach (nowandforalltime)

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