Searmanas –  Searmanas (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

740495I’ve always been a sucker for ambient, drifty, dreamy music. I’ve also always loved strange, glitchy electronica. But it isn’t often that you find the two coming together in such a complimentary fashion. Kate Bush led the way and the likes for Bat For Lashes carried the torch, but outside of, say, Mandalay and Lamb it has been a fairly quiet scene, a spacious musical plain marked only with the occasional sonic temple for aficionados to worship at. But maybe that is how it should be, it makes albums like this gorgeous and beguiling eponymous beauty all the more refreshing for its rarity.

The logical starting point is the single Undo which lies at the heart of the album, a song built of the same vocal grace and classic lines as those found on a Dead Can Dance album, a song which explores space and drama through its dynamic shifts and atmospheric conjuring. It’s an approach that runs through the whole collection to varying degrees. Crystalized sitting at the minimal end of things, a slow burning and gentle instrumental, growing increasingly claustrophobic as it nears its musical destination, Phonetics being a robotic and staccato alt-dance groove and Nodus Tollens the pinnacle of the albums disarming and addictive white noise buzz.

It ends with The Sea, another previous single, which acts as a brooding, industrial and cinematically epic swansong to this visionary debut album, an album which plays out like a possible alternate sound track to the recent Blade Runner reboot, capturing the same echoes of 80’s electronica, trippy futurism of the alt-dance fringe, the same dark designs and dying world drama.

As debuts go, its a triumph. A mesmerising weave of mutant EDM and warped pop, hazy ambience and alien dance music; it is forward thinking yet remembers the past, it is clinical, ritualistic and otherworldly. Someone should write the ultimate dystopian movie just so Searmanas can provide the sound track.


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