For lovers of shoegaze and dream pop it’s heartening to know there are no shortage of labels and bands who specialise in these genres but it’s even more rewarding when albums emerge which possess that much sought after crossover potential. Hamburg’s Seasurfer feature the experienced trio of songwriter/guitarist and Dark Orange member, Dirk, strident bassist Mikel and the band’s frontwoman, Berliner Dorian E.
It’s hard not to be drawn into the opening track ‘Stay’, which immediately pulls you under its spell, submerged in Mikel’s driving rhythms, the swooping distinctive vocals of Dorian E. and thunderous guitars from Dirk. The production is similarly dense for the remainder of the album, not far removed from Lush’s early records, although Dorian E. is a much more dominant presence and she has to be, given the oceanic levels of effects she is in danger of being drowned in. That said the music engulfs the listener in a good way; the melodies and hooks are clear for all to hear.
Even tracks which exceed the six minute mark (the immense ‘Dragon Song’ and dreamy finale ‘Fireworks’) offer seductive and sustained brilliance whilst ‘The Big Panthers War’ possesses all the drive and intensity which naysayers would accuse the shoegaze movement of usually lacking. They even move seamlessly between the relatively poppy ‘Cloudjumping’ to the cavernous instrumental ‘Under Water’. The band probably overcooks it a bit when Dorian E. sings in her native tongue for the title track but it’s another song with a German track title, ‘Winterblume’, which is possibly the key moment. Here, Dorian E. is in goddess mode, rising above the washes of reverb with a very moving performance.
Embracing modern production values whilst sticking close to the spirit of classic shoegaze, Seasurfer are one of those rare bands who live up to their band name as well as their album title. Dive in? Well, it would be rude not to.
Lush, Her Vanished Grace