Well, I’m back. Apologies for last week but work and socializing had been taking up practically all of my time. It was actually a bit of a shame because over Christmas I got about a dozen new albums, all of which I was quite eager to write about. I can still write about them of course, but their freshness and my enthusiasm for them will likely wane by the time I get around to writing about some of them. Not this one, though. I’m still very much entranced by Seahawks wonderful full-length debut. I mentioned in the last article that I’d hardly heard any albums from last year – well since then I’ve managed to accumulate another 4, more than doubling my previous total. (I’m always that “late to the party” type person. The first time I ever watched an episode of Friends was right after it was cancelled.) This album is one of them. It’s a bit of an obscurity actually, as it has a very retro sound and really could have been released any year in the past 20.
I actually know very little about Seahawks. They’re a British duo, recently formed (2009) and have spent the last 2 years releasing a series of retro house singles, none of which I’ve heard. Invisible Sunrise is my first exposure to them. I don’t know the names of the band members, their inspirations, nothing. All I have to go on is the music, which is really quite remarkable. To quote one of the few sources of information I have on Seahawks, they sound like “The KLF’s Chill Out album performed by astronauts.” It’s a fairly good summation of their sound. From the opening (and probably best) track Love On A Mountain Top we have a distillation of their entire style; dreamy ambient sounds, soft keyboards, pulsating bass and a mid-tempo groove. It builds up timidly, drawing you in softly with its soothing swathes of sound before the bassline and beat kick in. It’s not quite dance music, nor chillout, but the happy medium in between; that moment at the end of a fuzzy night out when you’re on the wind down. Not unlike the early music of The Orb, it’s trippy and soothing; call it musically induced withdrawl, “coming down,” or whatever you want. It has that sort of effect; a faint glimmer in the midst of a haze, a flashback of a good trip, that pure moment of clarity. A wonderful opener.
Catch A Star continues in the same mood, with soft voices, lightly crashing cymbals and a dreamy xylophone. A saxophone echoes far off somewhere, the drums have a rippling effect suggesting the hazy focus of our minds. One could easily be listening to this in space. The dreamy, spacy atmosphere of this album is unrivalled by anything that I’ve ever heard before. From the beatless, reverb-soaked title track to the minimalist Fire in the Sky, the music ripples like a silken cloth or a velvet wave.
Invisible Sunrise shares a trait from another of my favourite 2011 albums – The Go! Team’s Rolling Blackouts – a sense of optimism, optimism in the face of all things - but in a different way. While The Go! Team express it youthfully and energetically, Seahawks express it meditatively. Soft pieces with slow-moving but ultimately triumphant melodies are what this album is filled with. Sure, it can be a bit kitschy, such as the harp in Calling Always, but I can’t deny the overwhelming sense of splendor and calming effect this has on me. There are moments of sheer beauty, moments of hidden beauty, dusty, hazy moments of clouded vision and moments of pure tranquility. Invisible Sunrise is a soundtrack to nostalgia, faint memories of good times past, of future fantasies and ideals and everything else in between that’s not quite set in stone. It says hey; you might not have all the answers, you may never get to the bottom of life’s mysteries, but who cares? Just remember all the good times you’ve had and think of what the future has to bring. And in the brief 41 minutes that this album runs for, all of life’s troubles are temporarily assuaged.
Words - Adam