‘Reverie Lagoon: Music for Escapism Only’ is a title that immediately pricks your ears; will you be transported to a strange and serene place away from all your worries while listening to it? Will the very dreamy atmosphere translate across to the sound? The third album from Torrance, California’s Seahaven, it follows the critically acclaimed ‘Winter Forever’ and 2010’s mini-album ‘Ghost’.
‘Fifty-Four’ is an opening blast, clocking in under two minutes, that quickly reacquaints – or introduces – listeners with Seahaven’s floating guitar sounds and nonchalant-sounding drumbeats. Deeply atmospheric, the song flows expertly into the Real Estate-style indie pop of ‘Andreas’. The way the songs spiral into each other almost effortlessly hints that this is a concept album, as do the regular themes of life and obsession (‘Silhouette (Latin Skin)’ contains the lines ‘Your friends, are they dangerous?’ and ‘Come with me, just one drink’, which are both spat out with startling vitality).
Stop-start guitars and heart-on-the-sleeve lyrics define the emotive and gradual ‘On the Floor’, a song that covers a relationship breakdown in candid detail; ‘Ain’t it something when everything falls apart?’ and ‘Leaves you on the floor’ being just two lines that will sucker-punch you with their searing honesty and pure emotion. While sharing the same kind of steady and touching build-up that has served the Antlers so well, this is a song that finds stadium anthemics combining with an emo heart. This deeply personal approach continues on the acoustic-led ‘Highway Blues’; that talks of being a lonely one and how ‘Life’s a mess and I know best’. The short interludes on the album help the flow, preparing you and easing you in from one song to another.
The band heads off in an unexpected direction on the single ‘Flesh’, which sounds somewhat like The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die covering La Dispute. Another track that would fit with these kind of bands is the intricate and initially bass-heavy ‘Love to Burn’, which has the highly sincere lyrics ‘You don’t need me, we’ll make-believe like you do… You don’t. And I’ll be sour, you’ll be sweet, it’s nothing new…’ The breakdown around three and a half minutes signals a change in tempo that lets the strings come to the fore, but in a very distinct and elegant way which will leave even the coldest of hearts in an emotional mess. There are apologies aplenty on ‘Solar Eclipse’ which, amidst a very classical and traditional piano sound, finds singer Kyle Soto singing: ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry for all of the things that you don’t know’.
The penultimate ‘Karma Consequential’ starts with a solo pummelling drumbeat, but this is soon joined by dreamy guitars, glockenspiel and all manner of other gorgeous sounds. It has the same kind of playful nature as Team Me, but with the heartfelt character of The National. Lyrics are delivered in an almost spoken-word fashion, which lends extra emphasis to the more macabre moments: ‘Living in darkness, she runs with the skeletons’. As it heads towards its final guitar-led climax, harmonic backing vocals are brought into the mix as, in unison, Seahaven sing: ‘We don’t take time for misery… for anyone… Don’t it feel time, to let it be humanly?’
Album closer ‘Four-Eleven’ may not be the grand ending you’re expecting, but the delicate and reflective nature, mixed with its nod towards some of nature’s greatest effects, is just perfect. The album does reflect its title, Seahaven’s confident, impulsive and whimsical sound will seep into your dreams – and they’ll be all the better for it.