Monday, 2 November 2009

Absolutely Semisonic! Update

Absolutely Semisonic!
The greatest band that time forgot
16th August 2009

See todays update at the foot of this post. 2.11.09

Few things instill tranquility into my life like time spent on the cut.

However, the waterways are not unique in their restorative capabilities. A few months ago I came across a little known American band called Semisonic, and their album 'All about Chemistry'. From the first track I fell under their spell, and no matter what else I listen to on my ipod, I keep coming back to Semisonic.

This is a three piece outfit from Minneapolis, who formed in 1995 under the leadership of Dan Wilson, lead guitarist and vocalist who went on to record just three full length albums:

The Great Divide 1996
Feeling Strangely Fine 1998
All about Chemistry 2001

Their music is beautifully crafted and their lyrics extremely clever. Whilst they have released singles, this is no 'pop' band. The haunting vocals of Dan Wilson defy comparison, but are unusual in the same way Lloyd Cole's (of The Commotions) delivery is unique.

Having been sucked into the Semisonic world I was fearful about buying the second album, Feeling Strangely Fine, for fear that it would fail to live up to my expectations. A month ago I took the plunge and purchased a copy on e-bay. I shouldn't have worried - it is masterful.

Having got two of the three albums I am feeling compelled to get the first, but as this was where they cut their teeth there is a very real danger that it will disappoint. And even if it doesn't, where do I go from there? There are no more studio albums.

As for the band. The blurb tells me that after playing Glastonbury in 2001 they went into a hiatus, appearing only briefly for a couple of live performances in 2006 and 2008. Otherwise, the members went their own ways, writing books, composing or recording solo albums.

I guess I could buy a copy of Free Life, Dan Wood's 2007 solo album, but will it be like buying a Stevie Nicks album and hoping for Fleetwood Mac? The special essence of bands like this is in the creative fusion of the members - its sort of 'all about the chemistry'.

Update 2.11.09 

Having taken sage counsel from Peter, my brother in law and oracle on all things musical, I am reliably advised to give 'The Great Divide' a miss - it is very much as I suggested in the above post. But there is good news, excellent news in fact - they are planning a new ablbum for 2010.

No comments: