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Review: 'Seal Party'

-  Label: 'New Age Distribution/Bandcamp'
-  Genre: 'Soul' -  Release Date: '5.8.22.'

Our Rating:
MMXXII Is the debut album by Seal Party that is the new project of two well-known San Francisco based session muso's Chris McGrew and Kevin Seal who recorded most of this album during the downtime afforded by the pandemic and drafted in a cast of 22 Musicians and artists to bring their vision to reality.

This album opens with Turpentine, that very sadly isn't a Kevin Coyne cover, it's no way as good as that classic song, that doesn't mean it's bad though, as the jazz rock wraps itself around the rich deep vocals ask all sorts of questions about how the justice system is failing, before going off in a rather odd proggy direction.

Never the Problem opens like it wants to be ABC singing about the pandemic and being locked down, it feel lush and has a good piano line running through it. Serenella for me is all about the brass parts as the fusion style drumming works around it in interesting ways.

He Has Your Eyes is one of those lines many of us would have heard said to one or other of our parents growing up, in this case it sounds like he may have John McLoughlin's eyes.

Jimmy Just Clams Up is a tale of the downtrodden Jimmy who is accompanied by some really great brass parts as Jimmy tries to find a way out of his problems so he can get on with his life on a tune that reminds me of Larry Williams.

Juvie is sort of prog soul for someone in need of a better life that doesn't end up with him locked up for a bag of weed. Elijah McClain is a sad sorry tale of life in Modern America. What happened to Elijah when the police stopped him is nothing short of tragic as things went downhill from there, this is a sad lament for the failed police, in a failed state. Elijah was given an overdose of ketamine to calm him down while being arrested, this song will hopefully help keep his memory alive and help bring about the change that's so badly needed.

Maison is a gentle soul stirrer with the brass section adding plenty of emotion for the gospel-tinged backing vocals to work with.

Dedication has slow ruminative jazzy soul backing with a far faster rap over the top that will take a few listens to get everything that's in this rather conscious rap.

Kaleka sounds influenced by David Bowie's last two albums, it really could do with a David Sanborn style sax solo juxtaposed against the piano lead.

CDLXXVI has the feel of the incidental music for Miami Vice or some other Harold Faltermayer vehicle, its pleasant but a bit un-involving. The Fire Escape is every bit the come down tune implied in the lyrics.

The Public Eye has a rather nifty funk soul feel with the piano being at the heart of it as the cartoon noises and other weird bits and bobs go off around it and the vocals question that actions of some of the super-rich and some of those people we really want to go away.

Superhero a much abused term, that the more downbeat side of this song seems to hint at may have outstayed it's usefulness in making America a saner and safer place for normal people to live.

The album closes with You'll Be Fine is a cello led song about the new reality where money is passe and we are moving into a different space to pre-pandemic days, this has a lush trumpet solo in a Don Cherry style to round out a rather interesting album.

Find out more at https://sealparty.bandcamp.com/album/mmxxii https://linktr.ee/sealparty https://www.facebook.com/groups/sealparty6

  author: simonovitch

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