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February 22, 2024

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For Barbara Lee (Kimchee Records)

By: Scott D. Lewis

THIS is why I do this. I've always said that I'm just in it for the free stuff (CDs specifically, though I'd prefer vinyl), but what I didn't realize going into this gig is that most of the free stuff would be crap. It's gotten to the point where I almost dread the delivery of each new padded mailer. But every once in a while one of them holds a diamond and Seekonk's debut is like the crown jewel. I don't really know anything about this band (I must have inadvertently recycled the press information, or it would even be better if there never was any) except that I can't stop listening to this album. There are elements of Mazzy Star's sedated cool (especially in Shana Barry's sleepy coos), Low's delicately gorgeous precision and Godspeed You Black Emperor!'s arresting symphonics, but Seekonk makes music all its own. "Hate the Sun" is the soundtrack to the most delicious nightmare you've ever wanted to have, and just a few songs down, "Tiny Lustre" sounds like Lush swimming through a pool of carbonated of the most instantly memorable tunes I've come across recently. "20 Degrees" balances a tipsy cowpoke beat with heavily whispered vocals and IFor Barbara Lee ends with the languid lilt and simple charm of "Maps of Egypt." Best of all, these eight slices of sonic art work together as a whole to form an album with satisfying purpose and progression, and about my only complaint is that there's not more to enjoy. But hey, that's what the "repeat" button is for and this one's been spinning uninterrupted in my player for quite some time now. I recently found out that the band has found and new vocalist in Sara Rawley and I only hope she helps this brilliant torch burn even brighter.
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