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Seven Seals

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Album Review

Chances are that you don't remember (or purposely forgot) the '80s Hollywood adaptation of Dragnet, but if you do, and you recall a scene where a pagan cult wore goathead masks and danced around torches while preparing a virgin sacrifice, then you have the basic idea of what to expect with James Pants’ sophomore album. The Seven Seals was made by Pants over a two-week period while he was holed up in a cabin studying the Book of Revelations and reading up on the occult. Packed full of pseudo-satanic imagery with a ritualistic, ‘80s vibe, the concept is thick: if James Pants were the leader of a cult, The Seven Seals would be the CD he would play to brainwash his followers. The electro artist's track record as a jokester (eating sushi and shooting laser guns in a King Tut headdress for 2007’s “Cosmic Rapp” video) could make it tough to take him seriously, and the lofty concept is gimmicky at the least, but The Seven Seals is executed with complete maturity. Expectedly, everything’s a little darker, a little more psychedelic, and a little more consistent than it was on Pants’ debut Welcome. The material remains beat-heavy enough to fit the Stones Throw catalog, but lacks the Egyptian Lover robo-voices or 808 claps this time around. Instead, Pants sings in an Ian Curtis baritone that’s cloaked in reverb or a distant falsetto, cooing over instrumentation that rides the line between creepy and creamy. It’s obvious that a lot of work went into the making of the record, and as impressively detailed as the artwork is, the music is even more so. John Carpenter synths and sultry sax round "A Chip in the Hand" into a seductive groove that calls for repeated listens, meanwhile, in “The Eyes of the Lord,” stinging guitar drives a thumping bassline behind the beckoning chants of “Come to us! Come to Us!” It’s scary to consider how many people could be lured into Pants’ Jonestown, if it actually existed. Let’s hope the address for the James Pants Fan Club printed on the insert is for just that and nothing more.


Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Stones Throw Records-affiliated James Pants is a one-man band whose humorous dance-funk music style is informed by early-'80s R&B/soul and old-school hip-hop as well as whatever thrift-store gear he comes across in his sleepy hometown of Spokane, Washington. Born James Singleton, he's a multi-instrumentalist (drums, keyboards, guitar, etc.), a skilled beatmaker, and a capable soul singer, and isn't afraid to infuse his music with a self-deprecating sense of humor. He became acquainted with Stones...
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Seven Seals, James Pants
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