Australia - Full Moon 66 - 02/27/02
It's Humbling When Two Saints Meet
Steady Cam Records
A duo from Australia, Seaworthy (not to be confused with a band of the same name from Athens,
Georgia, USA) are the kind of band that are unlikely to get heard by many people, but those who
discover them will cherish their understated way with sad, atmospheric melodies. It's Humbling
When Two Saints Meet, released at the start of the year, is a short, intermittently enjoyable
album of instrumentals. Sounding for the most part like the quieter moments of Godspeed You Black
Emperor!, these tentative, wistful songs can absorb you gently if you're in the mood for staring
out of the window at the rain-soaked countryside.
However, the lack of conviction and invention here can become rather grating. For example,
the piano of "Coming Home" could have been truly lovely if it wasn't for the excessive reverb
that chokes the sound in sentimentality. It's easy to create music that utilises all the signifiers
for a melancholic mood, rather than actually investing genuine emotion. Too often the familiarity
of sad music makes it lifeless and depressing rather than empathetic and evocative.
Songs thay begin promisingly, like the opener "Lost Hopes, Last Hopes (II)" (a very
Godspeed-esque title), fade out just as they're starting to get interesting. Other songs stretch
limited ideas to breaking point, leaving the listener frustrated - the guitar lines in "Tide In
Knots" (bad pun) mutter to themselves for too long, suggesting a demo that hasn't been trimmed to
its final version. It's true that the band are striving for crackly, lo-fi production, but that
doesn't always forgive a lack of tunes.
The problem with many instrumental albums - recent releases by Gwei-Lo and 90 Degrees South
spring to mind - is that no matter how charming or accessible they are on the first few listens,
there's little to tempt you back. That's part of the frustration, as there is good music here to
lose yourself in. "La Bateau" is a beautiful song, subtly played; "Between The Lodges" unfolds
like a black flower, haunted by its Twin Peak sample.
Perhaps there's a great album by Seaworthy waiting in the wings, as this album demonstrates
considerable potential. Until then, It's Humbling When Two Saints Meet is a diverting but
Copyright © 2002 Tim Clarke