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(55:54, Black Widow Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Space Pirates Return 3:14 2. Decode the Glow 4:11 3. The Dark Star Is Waiting 3:31 4. The True Merry Poppers 3:39 5. Tron 8:51 6. Fire It Up 3:55 7. Tlyok Kok Friebib 5:40 8. Birds 5:08 9. Space Rock Dogma 6:23 10. Magic Handshake 5:59 11. Sister Sinsemilia 6:23 LINEUP: Burt Rocket bass, guitars; keyboards Viktor Martin drums; vocals; electronics Jurgen Kosmos organ; guitars; vocals Organ Morgan percussion; keyboards Janis Lazzaroni guitars; percussion With: Hemmelig Tempo synthesizers; theremin Robin Sohrabi-Shiraz saxophone Oyvin Yri clarinet; vocals Martin Skei saxophone Stina Stjern vocals &: A few more singers
Prolusion. The Norwegian band SEID has been a going concern in one constellation or other since the 90's, although they didn't make their actual album debut until 2002. These days they are quickly approaching a 20 year long history as a band, and following a six year long break as recording artists they have reappeared with their third album "Magic Handshake", released by the Italian label Black Widow Records.
Analysis. The opening track of the album is an important one. In the old days it was the major selling point, when potential buyers investigated an album at the record store this first piece was essential in terms of grabbing the interest of the casual listener investigating new music. These days a high quality opening track will often be the one best remembered, and as such establishes the foundation for the associations the listeners will get in terms of overall style and comparisons with others. And the case of Seid's latest effort, space rock in general and Hawkwind in particular, will be the case following their chosen opening Space Pirates Return, one of the better Hawkwind-style tracks written and performed by another band I have come across in some time. And throughout this album the Hawkwind associations do stay put, at least to some extent. The general emphasis on bass driven compositions is supplemented by cosmic keyboards and electronic effects as well as the slight tendency to add some punk details to the proceedings strengthening this association quite a bit, with Fire It Up as another piece that will draw some direct comparisons to Dave Brock and his space cadets, the instrumental parts of this one in particular sounding like leftovers from their classic Levitation album. But as you get more familiar with this CD you'll also discover that there's quite a bit more to this band than traditional space rock. Fans of stoner rock will find quite a few tasty morsels blended in with the cosmic effects for starters, as will those fond of the type of music many describe as heavy psychedelic. Songs and themes with more of a darker toned, psychedelic hard rock foundation are just as common as purebred space rock throughout, first and foremost conveyed by versatile and creative guitar displays. And another style Seid incorporates into their stylistic palette is post rock, with a few, but highly effective swirling, textured guitar motifs added to the proceedings. And in a well thought out manner too, I might add, to good effect an appropriate description of that particular detail. The relatively short, concise compositions at hand venture back and forth between the orientations mentioned quite nicely, and with a few additional surprises thrown in as well. Like the elongated, ambient cosmic freakout that ends Tlyok Kok Friebib and the tasty, careful organ and keyboards workout in the middle of title track Magic Handshake. And as the icing on the cake, symphonic style fluctuating Mellotron (or possibly keyboards) is the mainstay element of final piece Sister Sinsemilia, eventually erupting in a majestic and stunningly post rock style finale for a fitting yet surprising conclusion to one of the more inventive and diverse space rock albums I have encountered in a good few years.
Conclusion. Although Hawkwind-style space rock is the strongest association one will get on initial inspections of Seid's third album "Magic Handshake", the diversity of this production is one that should make this disc an interesting case to inspect for a much broader audience than that. Psychedelic progressive rock with a space rock orientation is at the core of the proceedings however, so if you have a taste for music of that kind inspecting this disc should be a no-brainer. And if you enjoy innovative bands with a versatile approach to their chosen stylistic orientation, Seid is an act you should have a go at as well.
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