During a conversation earlier with a friend, I asked him what his favourite track on James Blake's new album Overgrown is, he replied, “I don’t think I have one yet. Don’t suppose you’ve got the new Vondelpark album; that’s stopping me from listening to Blake, I can’t get my ears away.”
And now neither can I. There’s something overwhelmingly exciting about a band’s debut album, especially so when the wait has been as long as that of Vondelpark’s. I began Seabed only to press pause immediately after, switching off my MacBook and light to continue the album lying back in bed in total darkness – as melodramatic as that may sound, this is an album that deserves nothing but your undivided attention.
From the opening synths of Quest, the first track on Seabed, the smooth tones run through your headphones, consuming your every thought with reverberating beats that blend effortlessly into guitar chords. Lewis Rainsbury’s melancholy, one-liner vocals have you in a trance from the very off.
It was only on reaching California Analogue Dream that the realisation of just how far Vondelpark have come since their first EP back in 2010 hit home. The reworked track is a skeleton of its former self. Vondelpark have stripped it back, removing jazzy electronic elements that had previously engrossed the lyrics, leaving a rich, pure track. Its newly found vulnerable edge is nourished with emotion; these boys might still be young but they’ve matured and aren’t afraid to show feeling.
Fading with jazz riffs and ghostly self-produced trippy samples, Seabed leaves you on a high – its comedown leaves you praying Vondelpark’s next effort will be as crisp and familiar but hopefully not so unhurried.
Seabed is out now on R&S.