The soundtrack to the aftermath of end of the world… possibly 2022 then.
Seeming has long been one of my favourite Bandcamp discoveries and Alex Reed as Seeming is the perfectly jaded vessel to ride 2020’s low moments in. His punky industrial synth-pop pours all his goth emotions into a highly percussive and aggressive double album. ‘The Birdwatchers Guide to Atrocity’ was released in August, with the second LP ‘Monster’ following in September. My recommendation is to buy them together as a pair as they compliment each other excellently. However, this specific LP has a special place in my 2020 memories.
This album is co=produced with percussionist Sarah Hennies and her presence is felt throughout each of the ten tracks. Seeming loved a tom drum beforehand but here they boom like audio nukes. The bass-heavy smashes are designed to rumble your foundations and they do just that. Whilst Alex nails synth motives, it is also his lyrics that hit a gut punch too. ‘The Earth is radiantly suicidal’ he ceremoniously bellows in ‘Go Small’. No stranger to singing about the apocalypse, there is a slight switch in perspective compared to ‘Madness and Extinction’ and ‘Sol’. Instead of brutal survival, now we are looking at events from an observers perspective. It allows Seeming to take on different perspectives with other characters lyrically and it works rather well. ‘Someday Lilly’ is the best example of this with its catchy pop beats and vocal recalls muddied with industrial synths.
When the gothic dark side of Seeming comes to the forefront is where some of the most unique tracks reside. ‘The Flood Comes for You’ sings of us drowning in icecaps among warped synths and angry brass arrangements. It’s like the music is a funeral march with uzi gun kickdrums and bird squawks as vinyl scratches. ‘Remember to Breathe’ is a mostly vocal-only piece using breath and barbershop oohs to create a goth-pop calming surrender in the midst of a panic attack. ‘End Studies’ tackles hip-hop beats in a grungy postpunk manner. The only other artist vaguely going down this route would be the equally fun Birdmask but Seeming goes louder, angrier and annihilates the bassline with vocoder evilness.
Sounding like a cross over of Depeche Mode, Emma Ruth Rundle and We Are Temporary, the goth-pop of ‘Permanent’, Reality is Afraid and closing track ‘Celebration Song’ all kick glorious arse. Seeming is able to create a circus glee from the macabre end of the world. You can enjoy the dark humour and roll your eyes at humanities stupidity whilst singing out loud to a beat. The token quiet track on the album is ‘Learn to Vanish’. It features Bill Drummond reading a poetry piece over mysterious piano and drums as he speaks of humanities last tasks on a to-do list.
The companion piece ‘Monster’ is longer! At 11 tracks, there are nine originals and two remixes (including a great New Order styled version of Doomsayer). Alex Reed solely produced ‘Monster’ and whilst its a subtle difference, this album features a bit more funk to it. ‘You Rang’ has snazzy piano and guitars that give way to a cataclysmic trip up riff of a chorus that stumbles and tumbles dramatically. ‘I Recognize You’ is more industrial dance focussed with spoken verses whilst ‘Grief’ veers from ambient vocoder verses to punk choruses. ‘Monster’ absolutely works as an album in its own right but you can also see why these songs aren’t placed on Atrocity either. They don’t fit the specific mood and scope of that piece where ten tracks all convey a certain mood. Here, we’re having a dance-off whilst despising the world we live in.
Seeming continues to evolve and be at the pinnacle of the most miserable yet danceable goth-pop I’ve heard. Fusing together catchy synths, flamboyant and rage-filled vocals and warzone percussion creates an assault on the listener. If the world is going down in flames – Seeming has made another great soundtrack to watch it burn.
Recommended track: Go Small
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