Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Banjo Power

SEABROOK POWER PLANT – “Seabrook Power Plant” CD ’09 (Loyal, US) – Think about a power trio with bass, drums and…er…banjo. Ok, well you might say WHY think about that, right? Strictly speaking, I can see your hesitation but you may be changing your mind once you hear this quirky little disc coming at ya out of New York City. SPP is composed of two brothers, Brandon (banjo, guitar) & Jared Seabrook (drums) and Tom Blancarte (upright electric bass). Their record doesn’t begin so much as explodes with “Peter Dennis Blanford Townshend” (gee, who do you think that’s dedicated to?). Jared’s drum cacophony introduces Brother Brandon’s staccato banjo shredding, as Blancarte joins the fray with his wooden thud. A nearly immediate reaction from this listener is how in God’s name would I ever describe this stuff to somebody. A later, more thoughtful reaction from this writer is how in God’s name will I ever describe this stuff to somebody! Imagine an instrumental version of old Texas math-metal gods Watchtower running amok in a bluegrass music store. Something that really makes Brandon’s Banjo (sounds like an underground art film or something, doesn’t it?) stand out is the fact that the instrument, by nature, features zero sustain. This only serves to make his playing that much more cutting and edgy, something that continues into numbers like “Ho Chi Minh Trail” and the more lengthy “Waltz Of The Nuke Workers” (6:08). Stretching out even further toward the 8-minute mark, “Occupation 1977” plies a more pensive, yeah, kinda noodling feel until at around the 5 minute mark, something entirely more sinister begins to creep in. That dark demon can only be Brandon’s electric guitar, and loaded up with distortion as it is, adds a completely new feel to the proceedings, marching in like a riff that tumbled out of King Buzzo’s pocket. “Base Load Plant Theme” ups the avant-garde ante into Vernon Reid Decoding Society territory. A metal guy like me can’t help having a soft spot for “I Don’t Feel So Good,” however. If this doesn’t start like something from St. Vitus’ “Hallows Victim,” I don’t know what does, and the crazy lead guitar shredding is Iommi-on-acid. “Feedlot Polio” is another swath of Coltrane-banjo-etequitte until things come to a close with the feedback laden wasteland of the aptly titled “Doomsday Shroud.” Coming as a real left-field surprise to good old Ray, SEABROOK POWER PLANT’s eponymous debut comes off at first as one of those records that’s perfect for a certain kinda mood. Funny thing is, I’ve spun it quite a bit lately. Powerage



Rick and Roll said...

You need to share this with the band...great review!

raysrealm said...

Yeah, I passed it onto Brandon via Myspace (remember, that antiquated thing that some people still use on here? lol)