Seeker Lover Keeper - Seeker Lover Keeper
Record Label: Dew Process / UMA
Release Date: June 3rd, 2011
Individually, they're three of Australia's most talented and noteworthy female singer-songwriters that have each influenced and pioneered Australian music in their own unique and distinct manner. Holly Throsby has four lovely and charming full-length albums under her belt and a profound ability to effortlessly construct minimalistic melodies with rising background harmonies to create an enthralling and equally gorgeous musical atmosphere that captivates and absorbs the listener before pulling them in entirely with her candid lyrical simplicity. Sally Seltmann specializes in wondrous pop tunes that fluctuate with touches of class and elegance. Sarah Blasko is perhaps the most recognizable and well known of the trio for she writes tender songs that often vary from crooning and casual folk/pop numbers through to incorporating extravagant, sweeping string-laden influences that you'll have heard if you were one of those who picked up her latest award winning album, 2009's As Day Follows Night.
Seeker Lover Keeper is a record that effortlessly incorporates beautiful and dazzling sing-along pop tunes that sing of seeking for elusive illusions of love and how difficult it can often be when it comes to maintaining relationships once they're ours to lose or hold. The twelve track debut self-titled full-length from Seeker Lover Keeper was written infrequently over the course of three years and recorded in the space of merely ten days. The result is a thoughtful and elegant release that has a conflicting amount of positivity and brightness intertwining sparsely with unmistakable elements of negativity, moodiness and casual darkness.
Throughout the forty-five minute duration of Seeker Lover Keeper, all three competent artists have a responsibility as lead vocalist on separate individual tracks, but it's Blasko who kicks things off powerfully with a stirring and emotional vocal performance in the beautiful album opening ballad, "Bring Me Back". The track begins intimately with nothing more than gentle acoustic guitar strumming before luscious vocal harmonies rise spectacularly to create a formidable and gorgeous atmosphere ever present in the background. Blasko sounds stunning as she soon transforms the track into a haunting and slow-tempo tune that exudes passion and sincerity. Interestingly, the track itself doesn't feature a chorus, instead the spotlight glistens upon the backing harmonies as they rise and fall with cohesive beauty. Stylistically and thematically it's a wonderful album opener that's both absorbing and solemn.
"Light All My Lights" successfully manages to introduce a far more lyrically optimistic listening experience and a quicker tempo than its predecessor as Blasko once again adds her lovely and distinctive vocals to Throsby's songwriting. The percussive sequences that are utilized and implemented throughout the course of its three minute duration ensure that the song maintains a dream-like vibe while still ushering in a rare sense and degree of urgency. That urgency is fulfilled during the chorus as regular hand-claps and light melodies lead in to a soaring and harmoniously uplifting chorus where both the vocals of Blasko and Throsby complement each other to wonderfully prominent effect as they both sing with playful joyfulness, "Oh won't you come, won't you light all my lights? / Oh won't you come, won't you fight all my fights?".
For better or for worse, it's noticeable after repeat listens that Seeker Lover Keeper is a debut record that feels slightly top heavy. That's not to say that the tracks you'll find and hear in the latter stages of the record are poor or unmemorable - it's merely that the opening four songs are so strong, splendid, and captivating. Throsby assumes lead vocal duties in the exquisitely written and produced, "Even Though I'm A Woman", complete with it's expressive tip-toeing piano progression and unique songwriting structure. Lyrically, it's a compelling and relatable tale of a long distance relationship where the artist gradually realizes that she's more in love with missing someone more than she actually loves them, as is evident during the chorus where Throsby and Seltmann harmonize simultaneously to create soaring and propelling melodies, "I feel like a traveling salesman / Even though Iím a woman picking up my bags from the station / Standing there face to face / Iíll be lying if I did not say I love you more when Iím missing you..."
The album highlight comes in the form of "Bridges Burned" for it features arguably the most breathtaking backing harmonies on any record that I've heard thus far for 2011. Blasko once again finds herself accustomed to taking control of lead vocals and does so to her usual flawless standard. The chorus is lovely and well crafted as it kicks into a double time signature towards the end, but most of the attention will deservedly be firmly focused upon the gorgeous and memorable harmonies for it's truly a testament to how wonderful their distinctly unique vocals can sound together when they're all vying for vocal supremacy and accolades. Blasko in particular sings with such candid and open vulnerability during the first verse which sets the tone and immeasurably high standard for the reminder of the track, "The shadow behind me won't hold me back this time / I take a step forward for every word was said and hope that it leads me to better circumstance". It's full of haunting melancholy, and whilst the lyrics are generally uplifting, Blasko sings "Bridges Burned" in a subdued, restrained and moody manner which only serves to heighten the atmosphere Seeker Lover Keeper has conjured.
Unfortunately, the record soon begins to fall into somewhat unmemorable territory. "On My Own" sees Seltmann deliver her first vocal performance and it's far from an impressive one. Her voice is lovely, but she sings the song without any semblance of emotion and as such, it soon becomes repetitive and forgettable. The track could have done with more vocal layering, the harmonies are disappointing, and the song suffers accordingly. "Rely On Me" is a welcome change of pace in that it features the use of a drum machine, overdubs and multi-layered keyboards also make an appearance. It's certainly the least folk influenced song on the album, the lyrics are thoughtful, classy and cloaked in metaphor ("Too vulnerable, you choose to hide / broke your heart to lose someone as desperate as a loaded gun") and the song itself incorporates a far more electronic pop sound than anything else you'll find on this debut. "If The Night Is Dark" and "Rest Your Head On My Shoulder" close the album in emphatic style with ponderous lyrics, sparse violin embellishments, signature melodies and twinkling piano chords.
Keeping in mind that this review is already overwhelmingly lengthy, I'll put it to you short. Seeker Lover Keeper is a beautiful, harmonious and captivating listen from start to finish. It's a record created and crafted by three of Australia's most talented female musicians and as such, it's elegantly classy and one of the finest folk/pop records that you'll hear all year. If you're one who enjoys multiple pitch perfect female vocal harmonies sung in unison, soaring and cascading melodies, and wonderful songwriting arrangements - you need this immediately. There are a couple of missteps and at times some individual tracks can blend into another, but for what it's worth, this is destined to be of the best, and unfortunately, one of the most overlooked records to be released this year.
Believe me, I tried to edit out sections of this reviews to make it easier for you all - but I couldn't. This record is beautiful and I encourage you all to give it a listen. It's currently streaming on their Facebook page which you can find here.
love this album. one of the best I've heard this year for sure. the only similarity in the first paragraph is how you've focused on the three girls as individual musicians and it serves its purpose as an informative lead-in. fantastic indepth review.