All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

352

Seabrook Power Plant: Seabrook Powerplant

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Seabrook Powerplant is the long awaited debut of Brandon Seabrook as an ensemble leader, one of the most impressive young guitarists to arise from the verdant Brooklyn scene. Despite his relatively limited discography, the New England Conservatory graduate has been active since the mid-1990s, as a member of Radical Jewish Culture pioneers Naftule's Dream, the eclectic Beat Circus and more recently, in collaboration with Peter Evans, Jessica Pavone, Jeremy Udden and other like-minded peers.

Splitting his time equally between banjo and guitar, Seabrook is joined by his brother, Jared Seabrook on drums and Tom Blancarte on bass. Eschewing the typical eclecticism of most premiers, Seabrook Powerplant offers a focused statement from a tight-knit trio whose rapport demonstrates the finely tuned interplay of a veteran ensemble, convincingly knitting together disparate strains of Eurasian folk music, punk, metal and the avant-garde.

Equally adept on banjo and its six string cousin, Seabrook is a phenomenal virtuoso and an in-demand sideman, occasionally stealing the spotlight from his employers with his prodigious technique and innovative use of EFX. A singular talent, he pushes the limits of pyrotechnic showmanship beyond convention, into the realm of surreal psychedelia—as revealed in the oblique angles and thorny intervals of "Waltz of the Nuke Workers." In any other context his blistering fretwork on "I Don't Feel So Good" might sound excessive; contrasted against menacingly slow Melvins-inspired sludge metal riffs and his brother's Bonham-esque backbeats, his blinding salvos acquire a dramatic urgency.

Blancarte and Seabrook's brother Jared are empathetic foils to the leader's mercurial flights, providing stalwart support and conversational interaction. Blancarte's stout bass tone provides a robust harmonic foundation, while his expansive arco playing adds sonic intrigue. In tandem with Seabrook's spiky banjo cadences, his acerbic bowing on "Ho Chi Minh Trail" is as bracing as the spectral harmonics he conjures on "Occupation 1977," and as haunting. A percussive firebrand, Jared effortlessly navigates stop-start rhythms and shifting time signatures, exemplified by "Base Load Plant Theme," which pirouettes from pneumatic funk to gritty thrash metal with spasmodic glee, invoking the trio's heroes—the seminal 1980s West Coast hardcore trio The Minutemen.

Unveiling a fascination with the post-Watergate era, Seabrook's oppressive song titles, like "Ho Chi Minh Trail," "Occupation 1977" and "Doomsday Shroud" lend a visual cue to these strident performances. "Ho Chi Minh Trail" is riot of piercing Eastern tonalities and quicksilver rhythms, while "Occupation 1977" modulates from kaleidoscopic minimalism to a monolithic dirge of Sabbath-inflected intensity. Emblematic of its title, the mordant tone poem "Doomsday Shroud" closes the album with grave resolve.

Although Seabrook Powerplant only scratches the surface of Brandon Seabrook's talents, it is nonetheless a stunning debut—a visceral session from a seasoned trio blazing new paths through the tenuous divide between jazz and rock.


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 and guitar; Tom Blancarte: bass; Jared Seabrook: drums.

Title: Seabrook Powerplant | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Loyal Label

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Seymour Reads The Constitution! CD/LP/Track Review
Seymour Reads The Constitution!
by Doug Collette
Published: May 23, 2018
Read Colours of Sound CD/LP/Track Review
Colours of Sound
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 23, 2018
Read A Blast From The Past CD/LP/Track Review
A Blast From The Past
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 23, 2018
Read Rhapsody CD/LP/Track Review
Rhapsody
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2018
Read You're Driving Me Crazy CD/LP/Track Review
You're Driving Me Crazy
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 23, 2018
Read Dirt...And More Dirt CD/LP/Track Review
Dirt...And More Dirt
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 22, 2018
Read "Vintage Christmas Trio" CD/LP/Track Review Vintage Christmas Trio
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 3, 2017
Read "Straight Forward" CD/LP/Track Review Straight Forward
by David A. Orthmann
Published: March 14, 2018
Read "Liberation Narratives" CD/LP/Track Review Liberation Narratives
by Mark Corroto
Published: October 31, 2017
Read "Gleb Kolyadin" CD/LP/Track Review Gleb Kolyadin
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 22, 2018
Read "Don't You Wish?" CD/LP/Track Review Don't You Wish?
by Patrick Burnette
Published: March 3, 2018
Read "80 Years" CD/LP/Track Review 80 Years
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 10, 2017