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Album Review

There are those typically Seefeel-ish moments in Succour — the looping of heavily treated sounds, vocals, keyboards, and guitar feedback that either transcend the clichés of electronica or wish it had a little more of it. Admittedly, Mark Clifford, Darren Seymour, Sarah Peacock, and Justin Fletcher do not want to be Moby or Underworld or anyone like that — their guitar roots pointed them toward moody ambience and experimentation rather than the dance clubs. To this end they have become a respectable oddity — prog-rock disguised as ambient psuedo-trance. By the time we reach them at this album, there are a couple rough spots, as they were supposedly having band problems at the time. Tracks like "Extract" repeat its key phrase tiredly for up to seven minutes, and frequently Clifford and Fletcher run to their signature tin-can drum samples and ambient clang of pipes in an attempt to keep other tracks afloat (like the somewhat unsurprising "Rupt" and "Cut"). Even more percussively obnoxious is "Vex" (a perfect title, under the circumstances), but it's the first time that listeners might recognize Seymour's bass amongst all the heavy treatments (and that's near the end of the album). What redeems Succour is a half-dozen other tracks, like the edgy polyrhythms and watery ambience of "When Face Was Face," replete with steady clangs and layered vocal lilts, making the whole production like a Javanese gamelan in space. "Fracture" follows next, a stark anthem with almost atypical and crunchy drums like a duet of rusted gasoline barrels, surrounded by guitar feedback and echoing vocals. "Ruby-Ha," though about as repetitive as "Extract," manages a little variation with the tattered ribbons of Peacock's voice (without whom neither the track nor the album would fare as well), sort of like a nursery-school lullaby long forgotten, played back on a pocket TV. "Gatha" comes off like a track from MAIN, with its needling guitar ripples, industrial static, and cavernous growls, though a bit heavy-handed on the bass drum (Indian tribes come to mind). Without the drum, perhaps there would be a taste of something rather refreshing in its minimalism. "Cut" has all the trappings of the weaker songs, but fares better because of the "dubby" bassline and somewhat more soulful rhythm track. "Utreat" closes out the disc beautifully, with a minimal call-and-response loop between electric piano and bass, peppered with next-door vocals and keyboard vapors. This track alone makes up for a third of the albums shortcomings. Overall, this is perhaps the bleakest album from Seefeel (their final for Warp records), but few do it as well.


Formed: 1992 in London, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '10s

Halfway between the often connected worlds of British indie rock and experimental techno, Seefeel continued the guitar-effects exploration of rock's My Bloody Valentine but set the whole in a framework of electronic beats and loops. Begun as a standard rock band in early 1992, the quartet soon grew bored within the restraints of normal musical forms and started working with loops and programs rather than lyrics and choruses; after the release of two albums, Seefeel began to diversify, adding project...
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Succor, Seefeel
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