Thank G-d The Rest is as devoted to Seesaw as they are. Thank G-d. Because just the thought of never having laid ears on any of these tracks is formidable. Truthfully, the turbulent story that comprises this record’s dawn seems to be a blessing in disguise given the favorable state of indie music now versus a couple years back – we had to learn how to enjoy the sophistication that is The Rest!
Recorded in their previous producer’s (R.I.P) converted church studio in Canada, Seesaw naturally possesses the same divinity Arcade Fire‘s Neon Bible introduced (also recorded in a church, in Canada). Each beat on this 10-track album is rich, loaded with unique notes and leaving no room for even a dull moment. This full-bodied effect is assisted by the seven multi-instrumental musicians that make up The Rest as well as quite a seamless engineering job that stitched the individual beings into one solid sound.
“Who Knows” commences the album calmly and introduces the spectrum of styles that define the rest of the tracks – including singer, Adam Bentley’s, vocal ranges and tastes of the patterned percussive and guitar riffs. The song transitions are gentle, despite varying tempos, appropriately launching each track into its independent measure. This is most apparent moving between single, “Always On My Mind” and Vampire Weekend-esque “Laughing Yearning”, contrasting sedated adulation with samples of laughter and rumbling drums. Adam’s vocal cadence is not lost to the varying speeds, however, instead his falsetto’s match the exuberance of howling guitars and the overall buoyancy of the decorative combination of the drum machine and drums.
The Rest’s instrumental choices really give their style the edge that proves you don’t want to pass up this listening experience. “Young and Innocent” combines a surf rock electric guitar with a Hammond B3 in the key of Jimmy Smith making this track one of the jammiest jams on the whole album. While the hymn-like steadiness of “The Lodger” would normally convey relaxation, the tender piano is complimented by an enlivening combination of snare rolls and cello moans.
Things are reminiscent of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah during “Hey! For Horses”, a personal favorite in which, yes, Adam does say “Hey is for horses”. Chipping percussive strikes and shimmying cymbals lead into a sweeping breakdown that breathes into an abrupt return to the refrain. The looping “computer noises” guide “John Huston” for an introspective journey where “the last thing I want to hear is that I’m on an errand.”
Seesaw is eponymous of who The Rest is: strong, versatile and graceful. The overall fluctuating pace of the album conducts the pervading comfortable mood, concluding with “Slumber”, decorated with the kind of attention to detail (and emotional cello strings) that make me hope they can convince the L.A. Phil Harmonic to share the Hollywood Bowl with them in the Fall.
Catch their awesome video for “Always On My Mind” and get to listening to some tracks in our intro-to-The-Rest post: The Rest – “Always On My Mind”