Seahaven - Reverie Lagoon: Music For Escapism Only (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Reverie Lagoon: Music For Escapism Only (2014)

Run For Cover Records

Seahaven are charting a pretty cool course this year. Touring with Touché Amoré and mewithoutYou is a good way of promoting Reverie Lagoon: Music For Escapism Only and from the reactions online, it seems that they won over a lot of the crowds. It comes as no surprise given that Kyle Soto's tortured soul and ability to script the most visceral of lines help bring the band's melancholic music to the spotlight with minimal effort. This record adds another roller coaster ride of emotions to Seahaven's repertoire as it manages to play off a sense of adversity, overcoming and triumph more than their previous works. Could it have been a bit harder and loose-cut at times? Sure. But Soto and his team clearly wanted to create a spacey album to breath and to wind down to -- and this fits that label perfectly.

Soto's lax, stretched and laid-back vocals mix well with the melodic and fine-tuned emo vibe of the record. In fact, this is arguably their most toned-back record to date and feels like their most radio-friendly with twinkly, soothing songs like "Andreas" and "Silhouette (Latin Skin)" creating an atmospheric drift through several themes -- love, friendship, loss and the agony that comes with them all. Sticking to a mid-tempo sound works neatly for the band as Soto's words override the guitars at the apt times and at others, he allows the instrumentals to flourish.

"Highway Blues" breaks the fluidity of the record as a warm little acoustic number. It highlights how much they wanted to leave the record as an open book -- catchy, foot-tapping and as something you can hum to on almost every track, even with the faster-paced "Flesh" which is a bit of a curveball follow-up to such an acoustic song. This reiterates how Seahaven barely throw any flair or flash into the pan but opt to stick to the dramatics of Soto's words. There's a neat subtlety in how well they mix it up with sheer ease. It's even more rewarding to see they incorporated more shoegaze elements into their musical ethic. It's not the typical Seahaven record but there's enough throwback to acknowledge the direction they were embedded in in the past and how they want to shift to the future. The piano ballad "Solar Eclipse" compounds just how much Seahaven wanted to explore.

The record still doesn't feel like they found their definitive voice but only because they hint that they still want to experiment with musical styles. For some reason, I got a Thom Yorke vibe off Soto on hearing this record and that's when it struck. Reverie Lagoon: Music For Escapism Only feels like a well-walked bridge for the band but as a gauge for them, it's unpredictable to say where they'll go from here. It's not a bad thing. It signals their ambition and that's what this record was -- very ambitious in its simplicity.