by Katie Sauro
The genre-hopping, categorically-indefinable release from Spokane’s Seaweed Jack is full of unexpected musical twists and turns – one minute, a fiddle, the next, Spanish-style trumpets, and the next, reggae rhythms, each song seeming to change direction and change genres mid-song. And combined with a jam band mentality and Decemberists-like story telling, The Captain is equal parts dance party and intellectual intrigue.
The album opens with “Open Face Crab Sandwich,” a theme song for booze-swilling pirates everywhere, complete with an accordion and cutting bluesy guitar solos. Things quickly change with the piano and swirling instrumentation of “Tsunami,” and the jazz nightclub jam, “Song 1.”
Seaweed Jack continues to change it up with bluegrass fiddles and handclaps on “Country Western Ecstasy” and “Gossip,” and “Short Mailin’ at 1307,” which combines horns and acid jazz… that is, if the term “acid jazz” actually meant listening to jazz on acid. Other highlights on the album are the horn-laden title-track, and “High Tide,” with soft, harmonizing vocals underlying a wave of rolling drums, accordion, violins, and bluesy rhythms.
Of course vocals are thrown in, at times quick and gritty, a la Isaac Brock, at times high-pitched and squawking, reminiscent of 80s hair bands, but the main focus of the album, it seems, is the instrumentation. And with all the starts, stops, and solos, this makes for a rather long album—15 songs in total, a few of which are over eight minutes.
But despite The Captain running a bit long, Seaweed Jack have definitely created an impressive album that is worth a listen for those eager for something fresh and different.
More info. on Seaweed Jack is available at http://www.seaweedjack.com and http://www.myspace.com/seaweedjack