Review by Darlene Brown
I was sent the new Sunken Seas EP to review, titled Cataclysm. I admit I hadn’t heard of these guys, but that’s not saying much seeing as I’ve been out of the country for almost four years. Dr Hitchcock informed me that they used to be called Tiddabades (with one of those cafe e’s at the end…wherever they may be located on a keyboard). That name I had seen, mainly on band posters…but hadn’t heard in an aural sense of the word.
I decided before I read anything about them, I’d listen to the music. I didn’t know where they were from, what style of music they played…all I saw was the cover of the EP, which has a half naked woman holding her hands out. At that time I had been inundated with the whole Miley Cyrus/Robin Thicke thing, so it was a little bit of a minus to see that.
However, my immediate thoughts upon hearing opening track Asylum, with its building bass line, mournful yet slightly hopeful vocals building into a wail, went pleasantly to Joy Division and The Horrors. No Cyrus-ian boogeyman around the corner to scare me, phew. Track two; Seesaw – more of a solid, industrial heavy sound reminiscent of Bailterspace, definitely into that. The third track Slide Away, with its searching, melancholy lyrics and lead guitar riffs sound quite similar to A Perfect Circle. Last on the list, title track Cataclysm tied together the elements that made up the rest, and let me “hear” the Wellington based four piece in their own right.
I like the influences Sunken Seas have brought together in this standalone release. When I read Nick Roughan – previously in renowned group the Skeptics – recorded, mixed and mastered this offering, part of the appeal became clearer.
Looking into this groups previous incarnation Tiddabades, I realised just how different this group has become – if I’d heard them independently, I wouldn’t have guessed they were the same band. Tiddabades was the Warsaw/Rapture mixed with Kaiser Chiefs to Sunken Seas Joy Division/Horrors/A Perfect Circle menage a trois (there’s that e again!). Perhaps a clue to this stark change is reflective of New Zealand’s current state of political affairs, illustrating a desire most share – for a Cataclysm.
Cataclysm from Sunken Seas is out on Muzai Records and available from Bandcamp as a name-your-price release.