Earlier this year, Charlie Looker (Extra Life, ZS)’s Seaven Teares project released its debut album, Power Ballads. With the help of Amirtha Kidambi (Sequins and Skeletons), Robbie Lee (Howling Hex), and Russell Greenberg (Yarn/Wire), Looker had crafted a curiously hypnotic, boldly anachronistic blend of English folk and Early Music, with touches of dark ambience and modern composition serving as both an aesthetic reminder of its modern reach and a signifier of atemporal themes like violence and transgression.
But of course, Power Ballads opens with perhaps its most conventional song, “Meet Me.” Contrasting Greenberg’s heavy, thudding downbeat with the playful, impressionistic sounds of Lee’s portative organ, the melancholic track foregrounds Looker and Kidambi’s vocal arrangements, the forceful acrobatics of which obscure the song’s seedier plummets. Here, Seaven Teares drop lyrics like “Meet me where you blush, meet me at your skin/ Kiss me through the bars, unsmiling in pleasure” next to lines such as “The more I grab at your hated parts and search you like a corpse” and “Bars of coke await us there and then we’ll flee to separate rooms to cry,” juxtaposing its superficially wistful aesthetics with something much darker and more emotionally challenging. It’s a difficult listen if you want it to be, a testament once again to the complexity of Looker’s unique approach to music-making.
Check out Seaven Teares performing “Meet Me” here:
Power Ballads is out now on Northern Spy. Watch the band perform live on Sunday at Northern Spy’s Spy Music Festival (of which TMT is a sponsor) at 285 Kent.