When done right, post-rock can be transformational. Enter Australia’s SEIMS – the brainchild of composer Simeon Bartholomew, who also plays bass, guitars, synths, piano, and vocals while other musicians contribute drums, violin, viola, cello, double bass, trombone, flugelhorn, trumpet, and harp.
Not out of line with the aforementioned genre, the album features orchestral rock with speed picking, repeated structures, melodies that build up to energetic crescendos, and an odd time signature or two. Lengthwise, the tracks fall within a fairly limited range, from two to six minutes. Nonetheless, each piece develops in its own way, from relatively simple guitar and keyboard interludes to blazing riffs and intricate rhythms. Throughout these efforts, Bartholomew incorporates minimalism and high-end modern progressive and math rock influences. The result is both full of vitality and cinematic.
Case in point, Elegance over Confidence begins with a repeating piano motif and oddly syncopated drumming that quickly transform into a supporting role for a rapid explosion with heavy guitar chords and violin drones. Somewhere past the middle, a passage calls up 80’s hard rock until it fades with a wall of guitar and keys. On the other hand, Nuance Lost in Translation gives a nod to the Phillip Glass playbook before heading in a more intricate direction with strings and harp.
FOUR flat out rocks, but in a compelling and brainy fashion. Hats off to Bartholomew and crew. This one gets two thumbs up. The album will be out on October 22.