Seafoal - 'XERACLIUS' EP
One of the nice things about new year is I can unashamedly take a step out of the promo cycle and take a look back at some of the awesome stuff I've missed over the last 12 months.
One such example is the hypnotically gloomy 'XERACLIUS' EP by SEAFOAL who hails from Blackpool in the north west of England. This succinct 5 track EP is a great cold-pop offering; set up brilliantly by releases opening number 'Submerged'. 'Submerged' nicely ticks all the boxes for lovers of retro synth; it's very 'drive-soundtrack' and I mean that as a big compliment; it beckons the listener in like a siren as evocative and airy sine leads blur with (what must be for the first time ever) tasteful use of vocorder.
It's a striking cinematic feeling track and a great intro. Following on 'Fiends' is a serious work of cutting dark electro pop; once we're past the teasingly wonky fanfare intro we're met by thudding reverb sodden drum machine and synth chimes skipping over a grumbling arpeggiator. This could be a 'Depeche mode' track were it not for Zander Sweeney's sweet and dreamy vocals.
Elsewhere in the EP we find an infectious pop offering in 'You'll be Sorry' and 'chess' (a stomping number with a much more urban feel).
Wrapping things up an unassumingly epic synth-pop anthem 'Samara', from humble beginnings the track references 90's Dance music with delayed keyboard sounds echoing under the mournful mewling of what sounds to be a guitar played with an e-bow. As the tension slowly rises, the instrumentation expands and the drum track evolves from dance beats to echoing toms before a final full synth rock breakdown. This is seriously good.