Friday, May 27, 2011

REVIEW: Seapony -- Go With Me

By any reasonable measure, Seapony is having a good year. The buzz for the Seattle band has been building for months, their LP is being released on May 31 by Hardly Art, a subsidiary of Sub Pop, and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart selected them to open for them when they played here in April. And as you listen to "Dreaming", the opening song of the album, you can see that the buzz is well deserved.

The group consists of Jen Weidl, the singer, Danny Rowland, the primary songwriter and guitarist, and Ian Brewer, the bassist. Danny and Ian have known each other since high school days in Oklahoma. They moved to Washington in 2001. Danny then spent a few years in Ohio, meeting and moving back to Washington with Jenn in 2010. "Dreaming" had been composed back in Ohio, but the remainder of the songs on the album were composed after the group was formed last year.

"Blue Star"

The most obvious components of the band's sound are the female vocals and the fuzzy, jangly indie pop guitar. The music is simple, honest three chord songs of under three minutes with engaging hooks and lyrics focused on romantic matters. Timekeeping duties fall to a simple drum machine. To me, the band's sound is a blend of Beach Fossils and Pacific Northwest icons, Beat Happening. The Beach Fossils reference is obvious, and most relates to sound. As for The Beat Happening comparison, I think it is more in terms of structure and attitude. I admit that Jen's engaging, breathy vocals won't be mistaken for Calvin Johnson's deep tones. But the simple melodies, DIY feel and emphasis on the classic song performed with conviction is what Beat Happening brought to the table. And it seems to me that Seapony does that as well. Music like that can get overlooked when the listener is looking for showmanship, wild guitar runs or clever electronic beats (all of which can be quite nice, by the way). But joys of a Seapony song won't fade away when faced with a new musical fad.

"Go Away" is worth comparing to songs from Beat Happening"s You Turn Me On:

I expect this band to grow and provide its fans, which includes me, with good songs for a long time. But for the present, I doubt that fans of indie pop will find a more perfect summer album than this one.

The album's closer, "With You":

And if you want to taste the entire cake to evaluate for yourself, here is a generous chance to stream the entire album. Enjoy, lucky people.
Seapony - Go With Me ( stream) by yourstrulysf

One final note for Seattle fans, the band's album release party is June 2 at the Vera Project, and the other band on the bill is 14 Iced Bears. For Seattle fans of live indie pop, you may not have a better gig available for a long while. Here is the Facebook event link.

Hardly Art website

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