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Issue 1084

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Review

The Steve McQueens: Seamonster (Splash Blue Records)

The Steve McQueens: Seamonster (Splash Blue Records)

9

6.1

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UK release date 14.06.2015

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The Steve McQueens' "Seamonster" comes courtesy of Bluey's new joint record label project...he discovered the band whilst on a lecturing tour in the far east and it's palpably obvious to see why this quirky, off kilter and kooky band, caught his attention.

Opening / title track "Seamonster" is a seductive slice of blessedness, highlighting the exemplary ensemble work of the band. It's exquisitely produced too, beautiful lush Rhodes piano, sublime soprano sax bolstered by a fluid rhythm section. All topped by the sultry, smokey and half awake sounding vocals of Ginny Bloop. If it was meant to reel you into this excellent debut of theirs, then it's visceral sense will win you over in the first few bars.

Next up, "More Than We Know," shows their musical dexterity once more. Reinvigorating elements of jazz-funk, both elaborate and motoric...also highly melodic, though for me the Drum n' Bass aspects of the groove ruin parts of what is clearly a great song. However, this is quickly rectified with the moody "Rain", where Ms Bloop goes up a gear while duly paying respects to the past (Hercules), pushing the envelop further with a lush chord sequence and a choice guitar solo, followed by a swirling coda, taking the song out on a high. It's clear to see they have a magic quality that will resonate and register on a deep and emotional level on the listener. Suffice to say three tracks in and you just know the material is pure and utter quality.

There is a consistency in their sound too and the work hangs together
incredibly well and "Feel" sees the feline in Ms Bloop's impish make
up, coming out in this sassy, soultastic, slouch free belter highlighting the natural flair this very organic sounding band has. All these songs have a great sense of PERFORMANCE! Slow building and crescendoing experts!

Highlights are many, but "Barbwire Tree" sees the deep melodic and moving element reign full tilt, reaching heights that the likes of Kate Bush know all too well about. The Steve McQueens are nothing if not boundless, again crescendoing with the lyric 'love is not enough, ' ramming home the sentiment til she settles for second best as she sadly imbues that she will cling on! Such tenderness in the delivery - this vocalist and quartet are a match made in heaven. Their sophisticated stylings are joyful and highly expressive, "You Bring Me Up" equivocates this perfectly, yet perhaps their secret weapon is keys player Josh, whose harmonic knowledge and utter jazziness reminds me of Steely Dan in full tilt, is quite frankly a real joy to listen to, just check "Summer Star," another damn fine tune. You will know what I'm blathering on about!

Those of you who remember the impact Jose James with "The Dreamer" had, can expect the same from this sterling outfit, they sound so stridently confident as if they've been around for years!

"Seamonster" is a veritable monster and I for one am kicking myself for not catching them live (supporting Incognito). I have no doubt they will be back in the UK and once you've heard this and I'll no doubt see you there. Engrossing stuff.
Words Emrys Baird

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