Sejd ~ Ben & hjärta

Swedish post-rock septet Sejd wastes no time getting to the good stuff.  Opener “Storm and stiltje” (“Storm and lull”) is a bold move.  A quarter-hour in length, it’s also more than a quarter of the album.  The title is perfect for a post-rock piece, summing up all that we love about the genre.  Most importantly, Sejd uses the extended work to to share its stacked hand: in addition to the powerful bass, drums and guitar, the opener offers segments of trumpet, glockenspiel and lyric-free vocals.  It’s fair to say that we prefer this breed of post-rock, which touches upon modern composition.  As the genre continues to fight for relevance, newer bands can still make a mark by expanding their repertoire.

The advertised lull arrives mid-piece, providing time for fog to roll off the mountains and smoke to seep beneath the doors.  We run outside to secure the loose items in the yard.  When the clouds break, they surrender the rain in slowly-increasing sheets rather than in a torrent ~ the rest of the set will provide the thunder.  For Sejd, it’s more about establishing a mood, piquing the interest through nuance before entertaining with power.  The trumpet keeps its distance until the final minute of “Pablo Diablo,” but we anticipate its return.

While the tracks grow progressively shorter (the briefest being the title track, at 1:33), they flow so well we hardly notice.  The album imitates the opening track by offering a lull in the middle as well.  Storm clouds gather and the humidity rises once more, breaking with the drum rolls of “Spasm.”  We’d have liked just a little more brass in the finale, but that’s a minor quibble.  The opening track is better than most post-rock albums, and alone is worth the cost of admission.  On Ben & hjärta, Sejd proves it has the talent to match its ambition.  (Richard Allen)


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