352

Seabrook Power Plant: Seabrook Powerplant

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Seabrook Power Plant: Seabrook Powerplant 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

More Articles

Read Magnetic CD/LP/Track Review Magnetic
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 27, 2017
Read A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard
by Mark E. Gallo
Published: July 27, 2017
Read Someone Else CD/LP/Track Review Someone Else
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 27, 2017
Read Falling Forward CD/LP/Track Review Falling Forward
by James Nadal
Published: July 27, 2017
Read I Know Who I Am CD/LP/Track Review I Know Who I Am
by James Nadal
Published: July 26, 2017
Read "Mask Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Mask Dance
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 3, 2017
Read "Gratified Never Satisfied" CD/LP/Track Review Gratified Never Satisfied
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 16, 2017
Read "The Happiest Man In The World" CD/LP/Track Review The Happiest Man In The World
by Chris Mosey
Published: July 28, 2016
Read "The Drive" CD/LP/Track Review The Drive
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 16, 2016
Read "The Long Road" CD/LP/Track Review The Long Road
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 30, 2016
Read "As If By Magic" CD/LP/Track Review As If By Magic
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: December 3, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.