All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review


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


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Wherever You're Starting From CD/LP/Track Review
Wherever You're Starting From
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 21, 2018
Read Live in Miami @ the WDNA Jazz Gallery CD/LP/Track Review
Live in Miami @ the WDNA Jazz Gallery
by Jerome Wilson
Published: March 21, 2018
Read From Silence to Somewhere CD/LP/Track Review
From Silence to Somewhere
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 21, 2018
Read Never Bet The Devil Your Head CD/LP/Track Review
Never Bet The Devil Your Head
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 21, 2018
Read The Questions CD/LP/Track Review
The Questions
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 20, 2018
Read Meerkat Parade CD/LP/Track Review
Meerkat Parade
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 20, 2018
Read "Bismuth" CD/LP/Track Review Bismuth
by Geno Thackara
Published: November 29, 2017
Read "Still Motion" CD/LP/Track Review Still Motion
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 7, 2017
Read "Ultimate Hits" CD/LP/Track Review Ultimate Hits
by Doug Collette
Published: September 17, 2017
Read "Lyn Stanley – The Moonlight Sessions, Volume 2" CD/LP/Track Review Lyn Stanley – The Moonlight Sessions, Volume 2
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 12, 2017
Read "Bleak House" CD/LP/Track Review Bleak House
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 15, 2017
Read "Quiet Life" CD/LP/Track Review Quiet Life
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 5, 2017