August 17, 2011

North of Northwest: Hey Rosetta! – Seeds





Sometimes the best thing you can say about a record is that it’s fine, and sometimes the worst thing you can say about a record is that it’s fine.

Hey Rosetta!‘s Seeds? It’s fine.

I’ve enjoyed Seeds, but in the way I enjoy Jackie Collins novels or reruns of The Real World: as something of a guilty pleasure. Like these things, Seeds is comfortable, easy, but a little outdated; slightly quaint, a little too “produced.” It’s radio-friendly, and in the way that music writers don’t generally mean as a compliment.

There are a couple of standout tracks. “Yer Spring” is a catchy, triumphant sing-along. The mood rises slowly, but as the song reaches its climax around three minutes in, you’ll be tossing your head back to howl “Woah-oh-oh-oh” alongside vocalist Tim Baker and throwing your fist in the air on the drumbeats.

Seeds also takes the chance to make a last impression, leaving you with the gently haunting ballad “Bandages.” It offers the opposite of “Yer Spring”‘s swagger, but the same confidence lies beneath the delicate acoustics.

Unfortunately, there are vast swathes through the middle of the album that I’ve listened to several dozen times but barely remember. Moments stick in my head – the cadence of the line “you sleepwalk through the rooms where you grew up” in “Young Glass,” the frantic gasps of the Inuit throat singing at the end of “Parson Brown.” For the most part, though, the center is a pleasant but unremarkable blur.

Which brings us back to the business of being “fine.” In this instance, fine is a worst-case scenario. In a competition for the year’s best Canadian album, the year’s least offensive Canadian album should put up no fight. When compared to the groundbreaking creativity and forward-thinking aesthetics of many other Polaris nominees, Seeds offers a little to enjoy, but not a lot to be excited about. ______

Hey Rosetta! plays Nov. 11 at The Crocodile and Nov. 12 at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver.


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