This self-titled release from The Seafloor Cinema has me feeling like I’m reaching into a nice post-hardcore/punk trail mix. In any handful, I can pick up Midwestern emo, pop-punk or even EDM, all with a dusting of swancore. Plus, there are some guest morsels featured in the tracks that are super sweet to find.
Justin Murry (vocals/bass) shares in an interview on the album how the group went into the studio with zero expectations. The trio had the direction of elementary school kids at a T-ball game: just have fun! This one goal is very much accomplished by Justin, Seth Lawrenson (vocals/guitar), and Timothy Aldama (drummer) in these 12 tracks. Beau Burchell of Saosin is also in that mix with production, and he understands the group’s intention for their self-titled. From there, it all comes together without scrubbing the distinct individuality of each song.
The Seafloor Cinema released via Pure Noise Records is fun and sporadic. The Sacramento group are guided by the self-titled theme in these tracks. At first, I thought it was all goofy as fuck. The song titles themselves make me chuckle. Opening track “Mercury in Gatorade” is energetic and exciting with a blend of pop-punk guitar and screamed vocals; again, great trail mix! It makes for a perfect opener for the self-titled, The Seafloor Cinema‘s declaration of self-expression.
“If This Were A Film” is catchy as fuck! I find the lyrics ‘Chances are you’re back for me / I don’t even wanna know the history, yeah’ voluntarily leaving my lips lately. The hard-cut intro alongside Murry’s clean, poppy vocals create a surprisingly fluid pairing. It has the essence of a pop-punk anthem, complete with a verse feature from Onlyfriend. His alt-pop-punk vocals bring a fitting edge to the track.
Seth came out of nowhere with the rougher, screamed vocals on some of the tracks, especially in “Oaklands Finest Glass Beaches.” Lyrically, it’s lackluster with plenty of ‘woah-woah’ moments. Seth’s unexpected, aggressive verses bring the track back to an impressive status. Seth, you did not have to rock so hard! The Seafloor Cinema flawlessly officiate the co-existence of polar opposite sounds within a single song. This technique is key to fulfilling the album’s expectations to showcase what these three can pull off. I’m headed to Anaheim in March where they’ll be playing at kill iconic fest. I hope I hear that duality on stage and some solid Seth screams.
Murry’s vocal variety and strength remind me of Broadway‘s lead vocalist Misha Camacho on Kingdoms, a gem in the broader post-hardcore space. I first thought about this when reaching my personal favorite, “Geese Attack!!!”. It’s an infectious, high-energy addition to the album making you want to jump and dance. Seth opens the song with a jumpy riff and you can’t help feeling anything but excitement. The intense math punk effort cuts out a perfect space for Murry to bust that bitch open with the chorus. Pretty sick!
The album has no bounds and oozes with creativity, but there are always two sides to a coin. The track “Dolly Parton Vs. The Government” has great potential, but feels copy-paste with some other tracks that follow a pop-pattern, lyrically and instrumentally. It’s nothing bad, but nothing new.
I’ll reiterate, though: The Seafloor Cinema is an album meant to house music they like, and enjoy creating. The goal is not producing an end result to be loved by all. The group’s sophomore LP, In Cinemascope With Stereophonic Sound was funded by a $20,000 Kickstarter campaign. The momentum off that album and crowd support contribute to the creative freedom they exhibit in the self-titled.
Aaron Pauley (vocals/bass) from Of Mice & Men and Jamie’s Elsewhere absolutely shreds with the group on “The Lesson (.44 Magnum)” for a surprising feature. Seth and Aaron’s two vocal spheres interplay and bring the album to its peak intensity, ripping open an entrance for the album’s second half. The vocals in the chorus are unpredictable, and the electric flow of the track follows. The dark lyrics with Aaron’s entrance take this song to a new level, and I love how neither party lost the core of their sounds on the track.
Pure intentions coupled with a direction led by having no direction make up for anything I consider a drawback. It’s quirky, super enjoyable, and obviously something the three members are proud to create. It has a generous mix of influences any emo kid at heart is sure to love. I wonder if the trio disliked any of the songs but figured, fuck it, why not include it? I’m excited to watch The Seafloor Cinema‘s portfolio continue expanding.
Artist photo courtesy of Pure Noise Records