Saturday, November 26, 2016

EP Review: 'See/Sea' by Restorations

Title:  See/Sea (BandCamp)
Artist:  Restorations (Official, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, BandCamp, Limited Run, Wikipedia)

The best word to describe Restorations' latest EP See/Sea is epic.  The two-song release is stirring and uplifting while also poignant and stoic evoking a wide array of emotions from not only the lyrics but the sheer sound of the music.  Restorations has always been a band that has defied categorization.  What does one call music that enlists elements of post hardcore, punk, progressive classic rock, arena classic rock, college rock, Americana, indie rock, and emo?  Other than awesome, I have no clue.  Well you can now add cinematic post rock to that list of elements.  The opening track "See" begins with a haunting lonely guitar and biting lyrics that could be bitter but instead conjure thoughts of concern and reassurance --
This must be some kind of signal
I can barely speak English
You should see me overseas
I’m not sure about much
But I can tell you with certainty
That little screen won’t make you happy  
You could still write me letters
We’d still breathe the same air 
The song then builds like a rolling wave, before crashing down on the shore with a thunderous crescendo.  The entire song feels huge and sweeping, like a long slow pan over a great and beautiful landscape, perfectly concluded in the releasing howl of the final verse --
Turn it off
They don’t speak for us
To just listen
How I miss it 

"Sea" is the unintentionally perfect post-election song that sums up the frustration, disappointment, and irritation of 2016 with all of its loss and tragedy without once being overtly political, heavy-handed, or condescending.
I’m so damned tired I don’t remember who won
I might have voted but I might have just read that at work
As float above or underneath the ground
I hear the Sunday bells
I hear you sleeping it off  
As far from home as you have left to go  
Are you high enough?
You know, for when the flood comes
I know I lit the match
You bet I’d lit the filter
“So, pick a side”
You laughed and said
“What kind of choice do you have?”
I took the medicine down
You bet I’d just feel worse  
As far from home as I have left to go 
One of the great things about Restorations' music in general and this song specifically is the poetic nature of their lyrics.  These words are written in such a way that they can easily mean different things to different people, but whatever mean you gleam from them there are powerful emotions behind the music driving the words home.

In a lot of ways, Restorations goes against a lot of things that I like in music--a lot of songs that are over the four to five minute mark, obvious prog. rock elements, complex and exuberant musical moments--yet somehow it works and I love it.  Sometimes, especially with this release, I liken their music to the truly epic moments from bands like INXS and U2 (think "The Stairs" and "Bad") because these songs truly are epic in every sense of the word.  Restorations have really outdone themselves this time around.  See/Sea is a perfect EP and an excellent release to hold fans over until their next full-length, which can't come soon enough.

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