Seapony - Go With Me
Record Label: Hardly Art Records
Release Date: May 31st, 2011
Initial impressions are a remarkable thing. How many of us have cast aside an album only to revisit it at a later date, find something truly special and redeeming, and subsequently adore it? Instead of tossing it aside, how many have persevered with a collection of songs for what feels like months on end, just waiting for it to finally blossom and connect with you? It can be a wonderful and rewarding feeling when it finally eventuates, and many of those records soon become our favorites because we learned to appreciate every individual lyric, every chord progression, and every string flourish. However, what if we reverse that? What if a record we loved on our first initial listen wasn't everything we believed and thought it to be? And when you try to give that album multiple listens thereafter just hoping that you'd rediscover your love and adoration for it, what if it only highlights yet more negatives and another inexcusable flaw? Unfortunately, for the debut full-length from Seattle trio Seapony, it falls directly into the latter category.
For a twelve track, thirty-five minute listening experience, Go With Me is musically solid, but it's also glaringly simplistic and features an assortment of lo-fi indie/pop tunes that never once deviate from the slightly distorted surf inspired sound they implement. Album opener "Dreaming" begins the record on a positive note with layered guitars and uncomplicated drum machine rhythms accompanying Jen Weidl's distorted yet equally gorgeous vocal delivery. Combined with extravagantly wistful melodies and lovelorn lyrics, it stands as one of the better songs that Go With Me contains. Jangling bells and audible handclaps signal the arrival of "I Never Would", a breezy and harmonious four minute offering that showcases the tenderness and vulnerability of Weidl's vocals. The lyrics are reflective and easily relatable despite not being overly well written ("Will you still want me there / when I no longer care?") but it certainly shouldn't take away from what is a thoughtfully written, slow-tempo ballad.
"Blue Star" is arguably the strongest and most playful track on the record for it combines irresistibly cascading guitars and sing-along verses with the sheer strength and urgency of its soaring chorus. The vocals are saturated in distortion, but it only adds to the atmosphere and is sure to certainly be enough to warrant repeat listens. The beautifully sung "I Really Do" features pulsating machine-driven drumbeats and a well constructed chorus with Weidl singing softly with all the charm she's able to muster and implement, "Do you believe in you and me? / 'Cause I do / I really do".
It all sounds and reads rather positively to this point, but when you're four tracks into a twelve song album and you've heard everything you're likely to be impressed with, the remaining eight songs thereafter are rather unmemorable and offer nothing new. The album as a whole makes for lovely background music that's pleasant and soothing, but it's when you begin to explore, listen closely and pay closer attention does the album reveal its inherent flaws. Every track is written in the same major key, and not once does a single song throughout the duration of Go With Me deviate even slightly from its tiresome and predictable verse-chorus template. The time signature remains the same during every offering and the songs tend to blend and transition into one another so frequently that at times it can be difficult to decipher where one begins and another ends.
Go With Me certainly isn't a bad record by any means, but it just doesn't have the originality and lasting value that will keep people coming back for repeat listens. There are a few nice little hooks and the melodies are fantastic while they still have some shine, but for those of you who enjoy exploring every single component of a record, you needn't go past the first four tracks because everything you'll hear afterwards is, put simply and honestly, recycled and rehashed. Unfortunately, Seapony have created a debut that's neither standard or striking, and it consequently falls by the wayside.
I do enjoy this record for what it is. I think it's beautiful and lovely during certain stages but there just isn't enough variation and diversity to keep my absorbed. Best Coast already did this genre better last year.