Article By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway
Hard to believe that it has been two years since the Pennsylvania-based band ALMOST HONEST released the ‘Thunder Mouth‘ album in May 2017 [review].
Now, the self-proclaimed saviors of “groovy sexy Viking funk doom rock” are back, and back in a big way with their new full-length album, ‘Seiches And Sirens‘. The 10-song offering arrived in March from Electric Talon Records, and same as the procedure of previous releases has been gradually garnering notice since. Look, the band is an underdog entity and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that… in fact, I dig such myself. Well, allow me to rephrase, I dig such myself when the band is a kick-ass one that’s giving us some fantastic rock and roll.
I have just always been the type that roots for an underdog, I’m not sure why really, maybe it’s their spirit, one determined to persevere. Either way, ALMOST HONEST, which has become a trio since our last encounter, might be a sleeper but don’t mistake that as meaning they’re lame or lousy, they most certainly are neither. Let’s just say that what they are is stealthy, so much so they will come up from out of nowhere and knock ya’ flat on your ass with their musical TKO.
‘Seiches And Sirens‘ is that latest throttling from the now-threefold unit consisting of Shayne Reed (vocals, guitar), Seth Jackson (vocals, bass), and Quinten Spangler (drums). They make sure you thoroughly feel its arrival by means of the first track, “Fools Gold Flesh“, a song that embodies everything that makes this band great. Multiple styles of music are channeled here, first taking the form of alternative metal, morphing into a bit of speed metal, then settling into a very groove-centered heavy rock.
These are the very things that impress most about ALMOST HONEST, their ability to cram pack so much stuff into a single song clocking in around the four-minute mark. Some great examples of this here are the progressive nuances in tracks like “Keystone“, “Whale Bones“, or “Call Of The Mothman“. The latter clearly keeping up with the band’s knack for finding song inspiration in some of rural Appalachia’s enduring folklore (it was the “Appalachian Sasquatch” on the previous record).
Amid the continually shifting genres, tempos, time changes, and morphing musicality are some real treasures too, beginning with “Interstellar Executive.” A simmering number laden with grooves, catchy hooks, and some touches of grittier-than-usual vocals, the song’s styling is reminiscent of a bit of Clutch-ery at times. That last trait is really evident on the blistering jam that is “Dancing Shaman And The Psychedelic Cactus“, a solidly rocking number laden with swagger and sultriness both. The sermon-like, spoken.. er, yelled wording in its mid-section adds a cool touch to things.
Let’s be (almost quite) honest, there has always been a somewhat quirky element to this band. Be it in their sometimes odd lyrics, varying vocal approaches or offbeat and utterly unexpected twists in their music, ALMOST HONEST excel in musical levity. Here it comes in the form of “Stonecutter” or “Wiwadvhv“, and each feels a bit more tongue in cheek in comparison to other content. These guys make it work to their advantage, retaining unwavering heavy rock undercurrents in the songs regardless of what else transpires.
What does transpire elsewhere on two tracks, in particular, has made a pair of compositions my favorite cuts from the recording. “Jenny Greenteeth” and “Uproot” are darker, immensely metallic constructs, with the first one being just a spectacular track period. “Jenny Greenteeth” has an eerie quality to it early on, one that wanes as we accompany this descent into a place of progressive doom. Chunky and chugging at times, smoother and more melodic at others, plus the differing, yet well-executed, vocals styles utilized are an interesting touch.
With the album-closing “Uproot” we are forcibly thrust into a maelstrom of more turbulent metalization. Heavy and hard-hitting, with riffs at the ready that drive the song ever onward, you might say this is really a bit of sludge. Whatever you decide is fine, but for me, the highlight of this song is most definitely its guitar work. They take the spotlight from the start, going through numerous alterations while keeping your attention, but more so than ever when the isolated riffs do their thing.
Speaking of doing their thing, ALMOST HONEST have done theirs… again with ‘Seiches And Sirens‘. Exactly what that is will ultimately be up to you to decide, for most likely as in all things, what you like and what I like may not align. But that is a-ok, ya’ know? The best possible way to discover if they do, or might, or aren’t even anywhere in the same planetary system, is checking out this album yourself. You can do that by the stream provided in this review or go to Bandcamp for further streaming and purchase options.