By Ziggy Merritt
Back in 2014, the Hamburg-based and self-described “dream punk” outfit, Seasurfer, arrived on their local scene with their debut LP, Dive In. Formed by Dirk Knight of Dark Orange fame, the roots of the group’s experience and sound are planted deep into the earth of the early 90s when things like dream pop and shoegaze were still in full swing before their dormancy throughout the rest of the decade and resurgence in the mid to late 2000s.
This is a long and roundabout way of previewing the sound and style of their latest EP, Vampires, a back-to-basics approach that doesn’t tire out by assaulting the senses in a wave of glossolalia and reverb but gives something of a retrospective of what makes those genres, dream pop, and shoegaze, addictive.
Each track is a little bit different in its approach to the all-too-broad genre of dream pop. A dollop of darkwave here and a pinch of hypnagogic pop there give dimension to Vampires. It doesn’t escape comparison to some of the stalwart titans of the late 80s and early 90s, namely broad strokes of Cocteau Twins and Slowdive, but it manages to sound fresh, more unique in the push to perhaps not even break new ground but do something interesting with a well-worn palette.
You have your Cocteau Twins callback in “Bring Me His Head.” Here vocalist, Apolonia, has a way of curling her vocals around the intense atmosphere that recall the more lucid meanderings of Elizabeth Fraser. “Into Dust” and “Sad Song” both bring to mind some of the lighter offerings from modern darkwave projects such as Drab Majesty and Them Are Us Too as well as the more classic and mirthful sound of Lush.
This latest EP may not have the grip and bite as some of Seasurfer’s more full-length offerings, but whatever Vampires lack in its staying power it makes up for in excess with personality and production that doesn’t overwhelm or bore.