This is a review of "Until The Dust Lies" recorded by Sear. The review was written by Sam Saunders in 2003.
Danny North, Tom Allen and Michelle Richfield are Sear. Sear's music is tuneful and intense, with richly matured musical content. The general mood is bitter sweet, with Michelle's compelling voice set amongst some artfully chosen splinters, thorns and blossoms. Guitar and bass are the principal instruments, with samples, keyboards and programmed noise used to very good effect. The dryish sound of digital percussion is not to my taste, but you might not notice or object.
Opening "Beads" threatens full-on electronica, then succumbs to the human warmth of the song, and more familiar ebow-ish and guitar distortion noises blend their way in very neatly. It's an elegant construction.
"A Better Place" at track three is outstanding. There's a false start with 22 seconds of interesting sampled noise. Then there's a heroically good guitar/bass riff and the keen edge edge of Michelle's very fine voice going "Faith [dramatic pause] .... had something more to say". Too late, the Siren has delivered and you're trapped in the story that follows. A single ringing chord seals the gates behind you, and the song rolls on like a river. Excellent. The guitar gets bigger and the chords get stronger. Michelle's voice threatens "I'm leaving", and it's too sad to bear. Three tiny piano notes right at the end are like the tragic ghosts of children left behind when the village of the damned has been finally wiped out.
"Headlights" to follow at track 4 keeps the intensity, and adds the genius of a gorgeously rich cello sound to some great synthed strings, with some plantively dead piano notes for company. Another classic.
Personally I didn't get the title track. It's stuffed full of pompous guitar and drum noises. Like a prog metal band thinking about Sigur Ros, perhaps. But maybe you'll like it's driving onslaught. It cooks. The rest of the EP really is a real beauty. And even in the opening and closing of the notorious "Until the Dust Lies", there's a visceral acoustic guitar line that would have served a whole song very well indeed. I might just create my own edit with none of the main section left in. Just as soon as my surge-detroyed computer gets replaced ...
Do buy this one. You can get it from the website.