Legend of the Seagullmen Seek Aquatic Adventure on Self-Titled Debut – Album Review
On paper, Legend of the Seagullmen have all the makings of the ever-popular, overused term “supergroup.” It’s a loaded word that has doomed many projects before they get off the ground, crumbling under the weight of the individual members' discographies. Brent Hinds (Mastodon), Danny Carey (Tool), Pete Griffin (Dethklok) and their surprising co-conspirator Jimmy Hayward (Toy Story animator, director of Horton Hears a Who and Jonah Hex) and the mysterious David “The Doctor” Dreyer have delivered a fully-realized nautical rock opera of all quirky sorts, defying the trappings of that long-chastised, dreaded term.
Guided by the fantastical vision of The Doctor, his absurd narrative allows Legend of the Seagullmen to establish a musical identity on their very first offering, utilizing rowing rhythms, huge drum fill splashes and dense waves of riffs. “We are the Seagullmen” hoists the album’s anchor with a heaving gallop setting the tone for an adventurous journey with a vibe of “on the hunt” present in the driving churn of “The Fogger.”
While Legend of the Seagullmen can sometimes be repetitive, it’s the cinematic special effects (the creaking of floorboards, whale noises, seagull caws) and synths that draw out the eccentricities in the material.
Take “Shipswreck,” a song where tidal riffs spray seafoam over the deck with Herculean force — it’s the synths in the chorus (and Hinds’ knack for colorful, textured lead work) that provide just enough traces of melodic interplay with the nuanced guitar licks that take the track from a seafaring rock rager to a piece of the larger conceptual whole.
The more exaggerated moments come on “Curse of the Red Tide” and the spaghetti-western closer that was the catalyst for the entire record, “Ballad of the Deep Sea Diver.” Dreamy acoustic work and delicate piano flourishes could have come across as hokey if this was a lesser band, but the musicianship here is so on point and the story so outrageous that they pull it off. The band is a bona fide musical act with two hands firmly on the captain’s wheel. Anyone maintaining the notion of dismissing this group as mere funnymen using rock as their vessel needs to take a "time out" in the brig.
Seriously, though: what’s most impressive about Legend of the Seagullmen is how the instrumentation aptly lends itself to the aquatic themes. Carey, who displays wildly imaginative chops behind the kit, has a wet quality to his drum mix, meanwhile the guitars, as mentioned, act like the ocean’s unpredictable heaving, and the special effects make add to the nautical theme.
Lyrically, the album can get a bit over the top and cheeky, but The Doctor’s animated, dramatic delivery and seaworthy vocal grit make it convincing. Seagullgod kings, pirates from 400,000 years from now, crying dolphins… we’re sold. It’s the age old scenario where one fisherman, freshly docked at port and haunts the local bar, flails his arms, sloshing beer on a captive audience while his never-gonna-blink-again stare accentuates his tale of his unfathomable encounter at sea, which he narrowly escaped.
In fact, word has it that they've have already started working on the next one. The seagullgod king will be pleased, especially now that the band already has their, uh… feet wet.
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