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Artist: Seabound
Album: Double-Crosser
Genre: Electro
Release Date: 27th October 2006
Label: Dependent (Europe) / Metropolis (US)



Introduction

In 2001 a duo from Bielefeld, Germany, conquered the hearts of electroheads worldwide with their debut album ‘No Sleep Demon’ and the preceding club single ‘Travelling’. SEABOUND, as Martin Vobrodt (music, programming) and Frank Spinath (lyrics, vocals) called their mutual project, is nothing like most other bands from their genre. SEABOUND doesn’t cater the typical EBM/Electro clichés and always avoided the one-dimensional aggressive sound of too many other contemporary Electro acts. To the surprise of many, including the band, ‘No Sleep Demon’ became more than just a succès d’estime and especially in North-America the band gained a lot of fans despite the fact that the album was only available via import back then. The second full-length release, ‘Beyond Flatline’ from 2004, reinforced the status of the band and evolved the band’s sonic appearance. SEABOUND’s music is full of antipodes: Many tracks seem to be club-friendly but there’s always a certain danger that a dancer might overbalance and get out of rhythm as SEABOUND have a soft spot for breaks, unexpected turns and untypical arrangements. One of the band’s strengths is creating soundscape-like atmosphere so no album of them is a mere club record from start to finish. Their full-length releases are actually more appropriate for home listening, while their EPs and singles, with remixes from fellow artists like Covenant, Stromkern, Haujobb, or Severed Heads, rather serve the needs of the club DJs. With their new output ‘Double-Crosser’, available in the stores on 27th of October, Vorbrodt and Spinath emphasize the atmospheric soundscapes and deliver an album that is often calmer and more melancholic than its predecessors. I have only a promo CD with snippets on my hands but especially as the snippets are up to three minutes long I think it’s fair enough to resume that ‘Double-Crosser’ is SEABOUND’s best album yet!


Line up

Martin Vorbrodt (music)
Frank Spinath (lyrics, vocals)


Website

http://www.seabound.de/


Song Review

01. Scorch The Ground (version)
The opener of the new album delivers typical SEABOUND-fodder: A groovy dance beat with a lot of layers, playful electronics in the background and a catchy hook in the chorus. Everybody who is already familiar with SEABOUND’s music will love this song as it sounds comfortingly familiar.

02. The Promise
Airy synths lead you to the distorted but laidback drum groove of ‘The Promise’. The vocals are pretty restrained and have a subtle distortion on them during the verses. Then comes what the boys seem to love so much – a break! The dance beat fully stops and the very clear voice of Frank Spinath comes in to start the verse. The dance beat rejoins and everything is culminating in a hymn-like Pop song. Unfortunately the snippet stops here and what I heard assured that this may be one of the fan faves of the album.

03. Doubleplusungood
Dark and menacing and very slow and with lots of electronic wizardry in the back comes this song. While the first two tracks of the album are fooling the listener to be on the safe side and in confided territory, this song leads you in another direction. SEABOUND have experimented with (dark) ambient music before but now they seem to follow this route a lot more.

04. Sapphire
And with this track they follow this route even more. It starts very atmospheric and melancholic but after a while a slow brooding rhythm is added - very balladry type of song that is counter pointed by some amazing deep bass effects.

05. Domination
‘Domination’ starts with a nervous, distorted bass sequence followed by demanding but not to harsh or too thumping drum line. The vocals in the verses are again pretty processed with a few clear lines in the chorus - definitely a dance track but not too obtrusive. I’m not sure if it will be a club hit but it will be a pleaser at SEABOUND shows.

06. Every Last Grain
This seems to be an instrumental as the snippet on the promo CD does not have any vocals. I don’t know if the full version contains some vox but my guess is no. It’s very dreamy and has a warm, comforting melody. I hope this is not just a short interlude but a full-length track as it sounds great!

07. Castaway
‘Castaway’ is another melancholic drawn-out ballad. The contrast between the sense of harassment and darkness of most of the track and the uplifting chorus which bears some spirit of hopefulness will give you goose bumps for sure. And again this song is a fest for all who love electronic sound experiments. Brilliant stuff!

08. October Song
Another song that proves that SEABOUND go with one or two good ideas per track. ‘October Song’ starts as dark and ambient as the songs before but then suddenly the song changes when deep strings enter the arena. The song yet again changes its tone when Spinath’s undistorted vocals come in. The song evolves even more and leads into a pretty Synth Pop direction. It’s another excellent electronic ballad.

09. Traitor (extended)
Okay, we now had a lot of those wonderful slow-ish balladry tracks, what about another dance track with demanding rhythms? Here we go – ‘Traitor’! Some people will already know this track as it was already available on the ‘Poisonous Friend’ EP released in October 2004. On ‘Double-Crosser’ we now get an extended version of this song. This is SEABOUND as we have always loved them.

10. Breathe
This is by far the longest snippet on the promo (4:56 min.) and although the length is sufficient for a song you can feel that it’s just a snippet – there’s simply more to come! It’s one of these tracks which prove that SEABOUND often use ideas which would be enough for others to make a complete album out of them for just one song. The song evolves from level to level, starting very airy and ambient and going through different tones and stages to emerge in a rather harsh EBM-style which is a bit reminiscent of Velvet Acid Christ. Probably the least accessible track of the album but I’m sure it will turn out as the highlight for most fans.


Bonus CD

01. The Promise (club)
The original version already is one of the dancier tracks on ‘Double-Crosser’ so it’s no surprise that this track was chosen to be given a club treatment. This version is SEABOUND’s own take on the track and they deliver a trade-mark SEABOUND club stomper.

02. The Promise (Covenant Mix)
Eskil Simonsson from SEABOUND’s ex-label mates COVENANT laid also his hands on ‘The Promise’ and with all his experience he gathered with his own band he created a wonderful hymn for the alternative dance floors of the world. Hands in the air, boys and girls, this will carry you away! Great stuff!

03. Asymmetry (Tankt vs. Seabound)
This is a collaboration between Spinath and Vorbrodt and the Australian Electro act TANKT. The predominant bass line reminds on the old German Electro legend D.A.F. and combines them with SEABOUND’s virtues. A very interesting collaboration!

04. Scorch The Ground (Rotersand Mix)
‘Scorch the Ground’ has just originally a groovy dance beat. Together with typical ROTERSAND elements and beats, this is a perfect club mix. It almost goes into a Dance direction so I also can imagine it being played in “mainstream” clubs. But also all the Electro clubbers will like it. Nevertheless through all the dancy beats, Frank’s voice it the key of this song.

05. Poisonous Friend (Hymn)
How many versions of ‘Poisonous Friend’ are of there? Well, it’s save to state this song is probably the SEABOUND song with the most remixes. And as it’s a fan favourite some people for sure can’t get enough of this track. As the “Hymn” in title suggests this variation is not necessarily created for the clubs but rather emphasize the anthem-like qualities of the track. Don’t know if I was longing for yet another version of ‘Poisonous Friend’ but after all it’s good!


Cover artwork




Technical information

Tracks: 10 (for the normal edition)
Album Length: approx. 50 minutes (no lengths available yet)


Conclusion

Background to the album ‘Double-Crosser’ are the different motives for human deception and betrayal – no matter if they are of social, financial or sexual nature. And as complex as this topic is, as complex is ‘Double-Crosser’. You’ll find catchy club tracks as well as melancholic ballads and soundtrack-like instrumentals. Common for all tracks is the brilliantly and complex elaborated electronic compositions. The songs are never one-dimensional – SEABOUND loses the sterility, from which a lot of other bands in this genre suffer, due to the sometimes harmonic-melancholic and sometimes very dark but always dynamic chant of Frank. With that diversity in their music, SEABOUND created their own fan base. And all those fans will be very satisfied with this album. No one else than COVENANT mastermind Eskil Simonsson offered his help for this album. He produced and mixed the songs ‘Scorch the Ground’ and ‘Castaway’. Furthermore you find a COVENANT mix on the bonus CD of the limited edition. One thing is for sure: with this album (even though I only heard those snippets of the pre-listening version), SEABOUND will enlarge their fan base because the band found their own niche between Electropop and EBM due to the unique sound. They set new benchmarks in both genres.


Rating

Music: 9
Extras: 9 (5-track bonus CD)
Sound: 9
Total: 9

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