Photo Credit: Tom Lau
Pulp and Circumstance has a brand new reviewer and photographer; Tom Lau, the mastermind behind the now dead My Top Five Podcast has recently immigrated to my beloved city from the shore of Ireland. He’s faced all those creature comforts of home: rainy weather, Irish breakfast, and welp, good bands. Sent out to snap photos, interview, and review Icelandic septet Seabear in the throes of their debut stateside tour, he indeed battled rain and wind for a little chat and a lot of music. And as always at P&C, he managed to sneak in a bit of Zoey Deschanel. God love him, and welcome him well…as if I didn’t already owe him a few pints…
It’s a cold and overcast night in Cambridge–a far cry from the warm campfire tunes of Seabear. The Icelandic septet are in town to promote their 2nd album “We Built A Fire”. The band have steadily been building up momentum in the last few years, their first album “The Ghost That Carried Us Away” was a sleeper success in 2007 and since then their songs have appeared on Gossip Girl and Grey’s Anatomy.
Riding this wave, the band are here on their first ever US tour, a 3 week affair that began at the SXSW festival. Seabear are one of those bands that are adorably polite and humble, ending each song with a considered “thank you” and lead singer Sindri, engages in appreciative, self deprecating banter between songs.
I talked to them about their tour and although Sindri delicately clutches a coffee to address a hangover, he describes their American experience as “well behaved, mostly” with the perhaps the extent of their wildness being an incident at SXSW where tour manager Siggi was accidentally pushed into Zooey Deschanel, “she was very sweet about it”.
Whereas their first album evoked feelings of laid back Summers, “We Built A Fire” is a more engaging, lively affair. Last night show was certainly an example of that as the intricate production and delicate tones are ditched for a more toe-tapping bluegrass folk jam.
I asked Sindri how did the band cope with the transition to the live situation, “It’s always different live, you only have two hands. You want to try and get the crowd going, have more energy, it’s very different to being in the studio. Perhaps the new album is a reflection of the touring we’ve been doing.”
Indeed, songs like “Softship” teeter into sugary territory more akin to “I’m from Barcelona”. Sindri’s favourite track, “Wolfboy” (“it’s my favourite because we wrote it the night before going to the studio so I’ve heard it the least”) wouldn’t be too far out of place on an Arcade Fire album. However, Seabear have not gone pop just yet, as crowd favourite “I Sing, I Swim” and new song “Cold Summer” showcase the band’s primary art, soothing, warm, gently meandering tunes.
As more are swayed by Seabear’s gentle charm I asked for Sindri’s thoughts on where he see’s the bands future, “it’s amazing just to be selling out small venues in New York City, it’s a dream come true, perhaps one day I’d like to play in a big stadium but for now I’m very happy.” Given the musical talent (half of the band are multi-instrumentalists) and already considerable growth from the band, it will be certainly interesting to see if stadiums are far off for Seabear.