Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Juvenile Rush - Seams

A Juvenile Rush


SCQ Rating: 78%

Recently I was introduced to a remix of Bibio’s ‘All the Flowers’, a beatified extension of that brief, near-segue off of Stephen Wilkinson’s wonderful Ambivalence Avenue. As surely as Seams fleshed out that record’s shortest track with harmonious stutters and hip-hop flavour, he also displays an economic caution; using pliers to tweak Wilkinson’s composition instead of the hammer most remix-artists depend on. Always one to jump down the rabbit-hole, I looked into Seams’ (AKA James Welch) prior work and found the fresh-faced A Juvenile Rush, released not two months ago.

While Welch leaves his Bibio-love wisely to the remix – no English folk squeezed between beats here – A Juvenile Rush thrives off combining acoustic instruments with his laptop loops. The results are immediate and inviting; from the twilight serenade of horns over 4/4 beats on ‘Approach’ to the fuzzy guitar over string samples on ‘Drone’, Welch imbeds a warmth that defies these song’s inherent electronic nature. As the brief intermissions of ‘AMBE’ and the early Aphex-ish ‘STRB’ make clear, this debut isn’t about great arcs or narrative exploits - just playful, addictive combinations of sound that more often than not become more than the sum of their parts. ‘Glitch’ is a densely arranged pop song of left-to-right speaker tones, reverberating keys and blown-out bass while rightful centerpiece ‘Circuit’ is a three-act song; at first, swarming with deep catacombs of keyboard codas, then relaxing with an untouched guitar plateau before melding the two halves into a dramatic final third.

As the cover implies, these instruments – looping independently or colliding together - are the focus of A Juvenile Rush, and their tonal ecstasy supersedes any instinct Seams may covet for showboating. Still, the greatest thrill of this debut is hearing moments that suggest otherwise - like ‘Circuit’, among others - which hint at Seams’ talent for grander compositions. In these instances, James Welch stands not only at the forefront of his instruments but on the edge of something greater.

No comments: