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I'll Be New

Seahorse

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Album Review

Unlike the sister release on the Bric-a-Brac label by Whiskey Priest (also a singer-sognwriter guy hiding behind a band name, i.e. Noah Hall) Salem, OH's other folkie, Seahorse's Rich Swanger, is more the bluesy school of Nick Drake lush folk. Swanger also succeeds for a different reason, but the same result: another cut-above voice and a feeling of intimacy with the production on dusky tunes like "Just Beyond the Hill." What's good about these is that they both feel finely considered, truly finished songs, with just enough little keyboard additions to make them resonate still more.

Customer Reviews

Audio

The audio issues mentioned in another review could well be due to the default settings of iTunes' Sound Enhancer. This can be turned off by hitting the preferences tab and selecting playback. Unchecking Sound Enhancer will allow you to hear the music the way it was mixed, mastered and intended to be heard. You'll be surprised at how different other music sounds when you hear it in its natural state. Apple tried to make a general mastering tool for ipods, but it can be disasterous, as we learned when we got the album from the mastering house, when it is used improperly. Please deselect it if you hear any clipping when you listen in iTunes. There shouldn't be a problem anywhere else.

Finally!

Rich Swagner delivers on his debut album. The production suffers from clipping issues but the sheer strength of the songwriting is what really shines through. Check him out on myspace for links to merchandise and other bands he's involved in.

An amazing work....

In an age defined by packed cables full of zinging 1's and 0's, it’s no wonder the music soundscape is awash in compressed MP3 files, digital singles, and MySpace audio streams. It’s a ‘trade your guitar lessons for Garage Band’ kind of world, and fewer and fewer artists seem able to traverse the technological void to truly move the listener. Less and less, we hear about the true album “experience,” those formative moments where you remember the exact moment you “heard” the record that changed the colors in your world. And how many of those moments come from the self-recorded release? Seahorse’s first album I’ll Be New flies in the face of this binary disconnect, shunning the confines of home recorded staleness, entering a world brimming with mythology, bittersweetness, and inward focus. The collection of nine songs, compiled into a truly cohesive vision, feels like an old friend; one who urges growth, spouting the ideas of change. Each song is anchored by warm, melodic vocals, harnessed to an acoustic guitar, impasto piano riffs, and studio tinkering. Songs like “Phony” and “Just Beyond the Hill” are heavy on the latter, spilling over into the worlds of electronic fuzz and tin can drum-kits. But even then, a voice shines, sparring with the listener in struggles of ideology and the heart. Seahorse’s lyrics are packed with possibilities, thick in references to love, iconic creatures, and even “Galileo walking on the Galilee,” Pictures painted in stanzas like, “I buckled my knees, counted to three/And thought of you and me/I sharpened my claws on a hunch I could feel/that heaven’s hidden here,” never sounded so sweet. Between the softly spoken admissions of “Show & Tell” to “All Over Again,” there are just over thirty minutes of transcendence, suitable for any attention span. And yet, these sounds resonate far beyond the hiss of the last chord to a place full of mystery--questions with answers for the listener to find, answers with questions unknown. Perhaps this is where the connection lies, where the cold transitions of a hard-drive are overcome. In the end, these will be the songs inside falling leaves, seen through a lighted stained glass, and in quiet moments before sleep.

I'll Be New, Seahorse
View In iTunes

Customer Ratings