Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Blast from the Past: Four

In the midst of the Seattle surge of 1991-’93, the post hardcore / emo band Seaweed (though technically from Tacoma, WA) managed to gain notoriety and underground popularity without going mainstream, despite the fact that the band eventually signed to a major label but that is a tale for another time.  1993’s Four was the band’s fourth full-length release and would turn out to be their last for Seattle’s Sub Pop Records (see the aforementioned story for another time).  And what made Seaweed standout from their contemporaries was the fact that they were doing something completely different.  Much of the Seattle scene tended to focus on bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and Mudhoney, but Seaweed instead seemed to take inspiration from the scene in Washington, D.C. (there is an obvious Fugazi and possible Dag Nasty influence to their music).  In some ways I suspect that Seaweed was either an influence on or helped paved the way for fellow Seattle post hardcore / emo champions Sunny Day Real Estate. 

Seaweed is probably best known for their hilarious spoof of Soul Asylum’s “Runaway Train” video with their video for “Kid Candy.”  The rest of the album pretty much follows suit with melodic and sometimes poppy post hardcore.  In true emo / post hardcore fashion, the lyrics on Four deal with personal emotion and relationships (and I’m not talking love songs).  Seaweed had an energy and intensity on Four that was well contained, like a perfectly bred and trained quarter horse that knows how and when to show its bursts without letting it consume them.  Shortly after Four, the band contributed a slammin’ cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way” to the Clerks soundtrack. 

For those who were around for the alternative explosion of the early ‘90s but are looking for something that they may have missed, Seaweed’s Four is a great record from that amazing time.  What’s also great about it is that it is not dated sounding.  Fans of bands like At the Drive-In, Hot Water Music, Sunny Day Real Estate, Quicksand, and Fugazi could totally get into Seaweed. 

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