Album Review: "We Built a Fire"
Between Bjork's eccentricity and Sigur Rs's larger-than-life drama, Iceland's most prominent musical exports have set high standards for theatricality. By contrast, Seabear's experimental folk seems exceedingly tame. But what the group lacks in outlandishness, it makes up for in creativity.
The band's sophomore album, "We Built a Fire," features just as much quirky experimentation as its debut, "The Ghost That Carried Us Away." This time around, however, the band's newfound confidence makes its incorporation of different musical elements seem effortless.
The basis of Seabear's sound is defined by frontman Sindri Mr Sigfsson's hushed vocals and subdued arrangements. But the album gets interesting when unusual elements are thrown in. "Fire Dies Down" benefits from a variety of imaginative flourishes, including a wistfully played saw, plinking piano keys and robotic female backing vocals.
The moody "Warm Blood" features the most unexpected instrument -- an anguished-sounding electric guitar with heavy distortion. It's an interesting twist for a band that has its roots firmly planted in acoustic instrumentation.
The band's use of violins in particular adds a hefty emotional wallop to many songs. "Cold Summer" is one of the most stirring tracks, with bittersweet violins amplifying the drama.
-- Dan Miller, Weekend (March 2010)