THEY'RE A BIG BAND. Not Count Basie big. More like big heart and big ideas. Big emotion and big gestures. Big-time intensity and, most importantly, a big-ass sound. A big mixture of rock and soul. Big ambition, too. Progression, what with its tendency to offer no guaranteed returns, is rare in today's world. Rarity makes paying witness to an artistic arc spanning several albums during which a band is allowed to grow into its ambitions a real treat.
Rarity makes paying witness to an artistic arc spanning several albums during which a band is allowed to grow into its ambitions a real treat.
That's why the Damn Seagulls, from Helsinki, Finland, make heads turn.
After a mission statement of a first album and a prodigious branching out on their second album, the band has found what is doubtless the first of many treasures on ?Hunting Season?, their third album for Fullsteam Records. The success of the explorations that preceded it, gave the band the confidence to self-produce the album, with the exception of the vocals, which were produced by Miikka Koivisto of label mates Disco Ensemble.
So where are we now? ?Hunting Season? is not a radical departure or an attempt at reinvention. It's condensed soul. Take the introverted urgency of the Afghan Whigs and combine it with the extroverted bombast of the E Street Band at the height of their powers. Add a touch of storytelling magic ? la The Hold Steady. If a connection can be drawn between the personal and the political, Damn Seagulls has drawn one between the intensely personal and the blindingly epic. Raw emotion, served stadium-size.
It's a long road to travel and it took what started out as a ska-punk trio over a decade.
A lot has changed in ten years, but the band's voracious appetite for combining these and other seemingly disparate flavors remains intact, the bedrock on which everything else rests.
You can pack a hell of a lot of hours playing shows and rehearsing into ten years. . There's a loose-limbed grace to the playing on the album that can only come with time.
It's easy to love a confident band and that's what Damn Seagulls are. After two successful albums and the third one an obvious step forward, they're aware of their upward arc.
They can feel it and you can tell.
One Night at Sirdie's (Fullsteam, 2005)
Soul Politics (Fullsteam, 2007)
Hunting Season (WILL BE RELEASED Jan 28th IN FINLAND, ELSEWHERE LITTLE LATER) (Fullsteam, 2009)