SEIMS has never been a band afraid to feck around and find out. From day one, the wildly experimental Sydney quartet has pushed boundaries with little regard for any sort of musical tradition, inverting any genre in its path. Needless to say, high expectations for the band’s fourth offering have met, and continue to meet, a similar fate. So it’s no surprise that Four turns the band’s signature brand on it’s head in a beautiful way, a clever plot twist we should have expected by now. Four gives us a broader view of the band’s conceptual side, but also a more intimate one. Whereas before, so much meaning seemed purposefully, even joyfully obscured, the emotions behind the new songs seem much more obvious and resonant.
Perhaps not unrelated is the prevalence of strings on the album. The instrumentation for all of SEIMS’ records is impressive because of how little it relies on any one thing at a particular time to get its point across. This time around, we get to hear those prog-y, melodic chops soar to new heights.
“Biting Tongues” is one of the most cathartic moments on the record, where vocals take center stage for a moment, adding a unique element to the song’s already beguiling motif. That is possibly the most pretentious end of a sentence I’ve ever typed – but SEIMS really does have a way of writing long-form melodies that we’re already familiar with, and what’s fantastic about Four is that it expands that songwriting to the third degree. It all feels so cohesive.
The band’s previous offerings 3 and 3.1 were perhaps the first tease that SEIMS had been playing with even longer-play melody and progressive themes. It even bordered on the conceptual when SEIMS combined the two records into one with 3=3.1 but here, we see this wild-eyed vision coalesce from beginning to end. It all just sounds so damn interesting from the very beginning, and doesn’t let go. And if you’re looking for comparisons, though we recommend not doing that, we would say the current SEIMS sound explores the vast and cavernous space between Gazelle(s) and Strobes – and that is barely scratching the surface.
Nikk Hunter, the man who started it all here at Fecking Bahamas, had this to say about this album:
“SMEIS is the math rock we need.”
Honestly, we don’t disagree. Equal parts heart and brain, Four resonates a new way for the SEIMS catalogue, but not because those elements weren’re present before: SEIMS has always unpredictability on their side. But Four removes all barriers between the band’s various fascinations, and when they come together, it really is a sight to be hold. Or hear.
However you best perceive records. Pre-order the record through Bandcamp here.