Seabrook Power Plant: Seabrook Power Plant (2009)
Seabrook Power Plant seems like a plausible name for a (sometime) power trio that features two brothers named Seabrook, guitarist-banjoist Brandon and drummer Jared (bassist Tom Blancarte is the third member), but one's sense of the band changes with the knowledge that there's a controversial nuclear power station in Seabrook, New Hampshire that bears the same name. It suggests more than mere protest; instead there's a sense in this music of inescapable intimacy with processes of decay and contamination, from the politicized titles to the distortion levels of the amplifiers. As the group moves from track to track consistency arises primarily as its own opposite, with sudden shifts between disconnected bits at different tempos, accelerations, repeating dissonant figures, driving power chords, then oddly discordant, pretty melodies. Hard-driving unison blocks unexpectedly splatter into hyperkinetic improvisatory bits.
A combination of free improvisation, death metal and politicized punk, Seabrook Power Plant's repertoire of effects goes from the "Tennessee Waltz"-like opening of "Waltz of the Nuke Workers" to the guitar shredding and drum thrashing of "I Don't Feel So Good." As good a guitarist as Brandon Seabrook is, though (he can suggest a lineage with Dave Fiuczynski and Nels Cline), he may be most interesting as a banjoist. At the heart of something like "Ho Chih Min Trail" or "Feedlot Polio" is an interest in alien sounds and the banjo as a new resource. In Seabrook's hands, the banjo takes on aspects of the Chinese pipa, an instrument for virtuoso epics. The trio possesses real power and a strong collective identity, but it's Brandon Seabrook's sense of mayhem that demands most of a listener's attention.
Track Listing: Peter Dennis Blanford Townshend; Ho Chi Minh Trail; Waltz of the Nuke Workers; Occupation 1977; Base Load Plant Theme; I Don't Feel So Good; Feedlot Polio; Doomsday Shroud.
Personnel: Brandon Seabrook: banjo, guitar; Tom Blancarte: bass; Jared Seabrook: drums.