Home > Reviews > Live Reviews > 11/06/2013 | Seasfire – XOYO, London

11/06/2013 | Seasfire – XOYO, London

Emily Webb


Seasfire seems to be a band that hasn’t quite made up its mind. They fluctuate, sometimes within songs, between poppy dream-synths, pop-rock and anthemic prog-rock. Watching them is a little like flicking through a photo album of your younger brother’s teenage years – the melancholic phase, the rebellious phase, the spotty awkward phase, the cool and sophisticated phase. Some of Seasfire’s tunes create atmospheric, accomplished soundscapes that prove their potential to get out of the teenage years and face the world. Others feel like moments you’ll look back on and cringe at in years to come.

When Seasfire do get it right, their music is fully realised and atmospheric, using silence and minimal melodies as effectively as they do pounding chords and reverbed bass drums. Falling, their first and by far best single, was particularly strong live. It utilises singer Josh Thorn’s melancholic vocals against a backdrop of echoing keys, dissonant guitars and punctuating percussion from Joe Labanowski, David Callaby and James Sinclair respectively. Their use of vocal unison and subtle harmonies created an ethereal quality in the room, a sense of the whole band coming together to produce one delicate paper wall of sound. They appear on stage as a band that has worked hard to coalesce, never missing a beat or fluffing a chord and presenting a cool, unflustered rock star image.

The problems, ironically, come with the numbers that are more rock-inspired – moving away from the melancholic dreaminess of their early sound has made them sound more generic and less genuine. In the live set, their more thumping numbers are well-executed, but they just don’t seem authentic or unique in the same way as their dreamy electro-pop. And the sartorial appearance of the band doesn’t entirely work in their favour either – they are all in slightly anomalous leather jackets, resembling an aspiring motorcycle club trying to rock out on instruments rather than cruising the streets on Harleys.

Thorn’s front man posturing seems both awkwardly self-conscious and cringingly arrogant; he should be confident in the power of his voice (which is considerable), rather than affecting a stage presence that feels uncomfortable to watch – there was definitely a tongue stuck out in a rather serpentine manner at one point. Seasfire’s new single, Oh… Lucifer, has catchy melodic hooks and a surging chorus that was greatly enjoyed by the mainly young audience, and the live performance of We Will Wake was much more powerful than the recorded EP. But the effort the boys were putting in just didn’t feel matched by the quality of some of the tunes. This is a band that definitely has some growing up to do, but if they mature in a sophisticated way they might still be one to watch.