Though they call Reykjavik home, don’t expect to hear any kind of dramatic Icelandic lavishness coming from relatively unknown act Seabear. Unlike well-known fellow countrymen and women Sigur Ros and Bjork, this young septet, fronted by 24-year old Sindri Mar Sigfusson, favor a completely unobtrusive approach to song craft; the kind of audio delicacies Belle and Sebastian and Sufjan Stevens have been a-baking all these years. These are strong touchstones, to be sure. But before accusing any of these words as a meaningless façade of lofty comparisons to cover up mediocre work, take a moment and listen to this band, and their recently released album The Ghost That Carried Us Away (Morr Music).
Tackling “Nature, Mortality, and Love”, heart charmers like “Cat Piano”, “I Sing I Swim” and “Hands Remember” prove that the itty bitty approach can trigger not so itty bitty emotional quakes that launch a sea of goose bumps on the arms and legs, stretch a severe case of permi-grin across the face, and surrender the mind to a hopelessly chipper disposition. Dabbling in precious piano lines, swinging drum kit beats, voluptuous violins, backwoods banjos, and of course a glockenspiel (you just have to have a glockenspiel), these pocket practitioners churn out melodious melancholy, that ironically, thaws the heart, mind, and body after the briefest of moments. The only bad news? It appears Seabear are sequestered on tour on the other side of the Atlantic for awhile. Though if this record does what it should do, that won’t last very long. - David Pitz