February 27, 2004

Seal Boy "Escort Service"

Escort Service, the debut release by Seal Boy (a.k.a. multi-instrumentalist/producer Kevin Alexander), is a wonderfully eclectic affair drawing upon a host of styles ranging from contemporary classical (“Subway Rodeo” and “Third Rail”) to Cuban jazz (“Treehopper”) to dub (“5:14 [Sunrise]”) to just about everything in between. Displaying a remarkable knack for atmosphere, melody, and groove, Alexander uses a vast sonic palette consisting of synthesizers, horns, samples, and percussion, among other aural bric-a-brac, to create dense soundscapes that range from the whimsical to the downright ominous. Alexander’s influences are especially hard to pinpoint as the tracks that constitute Escort Service genre-hop like an ADD-riddled toddler in a candy shop, but according to fellow Mundane Sounds writer Sean Padilla, a few songs- particularly “Treehopper”- could pass for Hood outtakes circa Cold House.

The only misstep Escort Service seems to take is on the song “Fogging Up My Window”. Opening with a bland, piano-plucked melody and then segueing into a lurching, rather uninspired chord progression, the track moves along sluggishly, anchored by embarrassing teenage poetry and a vocalist with virtually no presence whatsoever. Seal Boy’s one faux pas aside, Escort Service is a frequently outstanding debut from an up-and-coming talent with a ton of potential to boot. If this is merely the beginning for this versatile musician, I’m terribly anxious to hear what’ll come next.

--Jonathan Pfeffer

artist website: http://www.sealboy.net

No comments: