Admittedly, I didn’t even know about Seafarer until last week. The Chicago quartet has been around for two years and in that time has independently released only a handful of songs. The band released its debut EP Hiding Places back in May, but garnered little attention. And now, the foursome is getting ready to re-release the EP this winter in hopes of attracting a larger audience this time around. It’s a good strategy, because the album – with its warm, drowsy feel - is really best served with a frosty Chicago winter.
Hiding Places is a lengthy EP composed of seven songs coming to just over 30 minutes of a well-crafted, atmospheric blend of psych, pop and folk. Its dreamy ambience is due to its paced melodies, spooky harmonies in the distant background, and of course lead man Patrick Grzelewski’s nasal, drowsy vocals. “Noise Floor,” for example, is a woozy, textured track, layering both shimmery and gritty guitar chords, heavy, constant drums, and Grzelewski’s weary vocals howling poetic lyrics like “The road beneath our toes arrived and came to pass as quickly as it told a tale of the last night we escaped the cold.”
Perhaps the album’s strongest track is “Sound It Makes,” an initially folky melody that twists and turns, dropping off entirely before Grzelewski bellows, “So carry on, so carry on, if you know how” and the whole thing explodes into a flurry of psychedelia. It looks like the band is keeping “Sound It Makes” tightly under wraps, so you’ll have to wait for the album to enjoy this one.
Hiding Places is set for re-release Jan. 18. In the meantime, you can catch the band’s live performance next Wednesday, Dec. 15 at Subterranean, with accompanying acts House Sounds, Dead Sheriff, and Males and Females. If that’s too short of notice, no problem: Seafarer will also play a free set at Saki Jan. 8 in support of the new album.