Haunting. Ethereal. Melodious – just three ways to describe Seluah’s ‘Red Parole’. After a 10 year absence the band return with a new album packed with guitar riffs, drum beats and vocals as well as the odd pleasant though admittedly unexpected aural surprise on route, the band don’t disappoint.

Most tracks begin in a similar way (usually with a single guitar either playing broken chords or strumming) but build, twist and turn throughout the 4 minutes plus of each song. Beginning with ‘We May Never Make it Home’ the band uses an effective guitar riff that keeps the song moving. The piece, as the band say “a warning letter of a long maritime odyssey”, comes in waves of sound at the listener, ebbing and flowing away until the inclusion of the strings near the end.

The next offerings ‘The Other Side of The Gun’ and ‘Killing the Angels’ both begin with guitar riffs with some effects going on. These effects, particularly the distortion effects on guitar and the cross rhythms make ‘Killing the Angels’ quite powerful and make a dramatic and quite passionate statement. The bass line is one of the highlights.

Perhaps the standout track – both in terms of instrumentation and sound – is ‘Sail Straight Into The Bombs’. From the start you have a feeling that this is going to be different to the other tracks with a quicker tempo and instruments from the off – the minor riff on the guitar keeps the piece moving and the listener hooked with the percussion stealing the limelight at the end.

With ‘Black Sand’ we return to the slower temp which gradually awakens in the last third of the piece the rhythm patterns change and it becomes the dramatic sound it promises at the beginning before providing a nod to the Man in Black (think Johnny Cash but with heavier and with more reverb and effects) in ‘Hell And Back’ which includes a nice surprise with a sudden tempo change upping the intensity.

The ethereal returns again with the final three tracks of the album, ‘Disengage’ and ‘Elysian Fields’ which both feature quite meditative with the calmness coming across. The rhythms and sounds in these songs are smoother than the previous – there are one or two surprises to be found in them. The bonus track, a purely instrumental number, is also quite captivating and is a nice added extra.

Lots of guitar, not too showy, quite dark at places but with glimmers of light coming across with some interesting cross rhythms, sounds and harmonies to provide some worthwhile ear candy. There’s no denying that there is a lot of depth and weight within the album – musically in terms of structure, instrumentation and harmonies and in the added effects as well as the production (bravo). They all come together to give the melodies their surreal appeal and carry the sounds with a smoothness that is haunting. ‘Red Parole’ pulls on a lot of different ideas and there’s definitely something within the songs which will draw you back for more.

‘Red Parole’ is available on LP (8th May 2012) and digital download (12th April 2012) on Karate Body Records.

Posted by Angela Jaap

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