When you hear a band with something different about them, something unique, that rare and precious quality, the shock of the new, you just know.
Barcelona’s Seward are extraordinary. A four-piece that don’t go in for typical song structures, that captivate one minute with a heart-tugging melody, before collapsing into thrilling noise the next. They ascend from delicate acoustic beauty to dissonant chaos, from atmospheric samples to scrunching wreckage. Pablo plays synths, effects and guitar, Adriano sings, Jordi plays bass and Juan is on drums but the band use banjos, wind-up toys, samples, whatever comes to hand to realise their incandescent vision.
Their third album, Second Two: Chapter Home and first for Naim Records (home of the Mercury Prize-nominated Eska) is a stunning work of art. A record to get lost in. These are unconventional, original songs that ditch the tired verse-chorus-verse structure but trigger the same addiction cravings that the best pop music can.
It’s the follow-up and third part of a trilogy of albums that began with 2011’s Home: Chapter One and continued with 2014’s Home Was a Chapter Twenty Six. Mixed and mastered by regular collaborator Matt Pence (Midlake, American Music Club, John Grant) at his Denton, Texas studio The Echo Lab, it’s their definitive album. Second Two: Chapter Home encompasses so much and demands to be heard in its entirety.
In places Seward evoke Radiohead, in others, Tom Waits or Godspeed You Black Emperor. There are echoes of Jeff Buckley’s celestial vox and the transcendence of Arcade Fire or cult band,The Books. Hints of jazz, rumours of folk, Kosmische, post rock and touches of electronics. But combined in such a dazzling, inventive way: uncontrived, thrillingly alive.The band’s telepathic communication abounds on Second Two: Chapter Home. Each player with a vision that melts in perfect synchronicity. Each song is an atmosphere, dreamlike: a chapter, and the lyrics are closer to poetry than a run of the mill love song. Roles are adopted and identities assumed. “It’s different characters talking like any performance, movie or theatre show,” Seward say. “We really like the idea of the audience taking part in that story and imagining what’s happening next.”
Seward are your new favourite group. And they’re about to begin their most momentous chapter yet. Time to turn the page and make your own discovery.
Second Two: Chapter Home will be released on Naim Records on the 2nd June 2016.