Roughly two years after the release of their debut EP Gardens, a record praised by the local press for its dream-pop melodies and folk instrumentation, Sedgewick (Sam Brownson, Oliver Horton and Jake Hawrylak) has released their first full-length album Collapse. The new compilation perfectly responses to the bands’ early work, building from the calmness of the first album into fully orchestrated pieces complete with a large range of sounds and colors.
The album opens with the single “To Fold”. It’s a playful and upbeat tune driven by the rhythms in the standup bass before breaking into an eerie section of guitar and vocals repeating the line “I’ve been waging war upon your memory”. The song fades into the familiar dream-like opening of “Signs” with its beautiful balance of the guitar, vocals and strings. Halfway through the piece, listeners are treated to a theatrical string section from violinist Chuck Bontrager and cellist Hannah Wren, tapering out into piano runs from Kyle Kunkler.
With its whimsical opening and sections of dirty guitar riffs and rhythmic breakdowns, Sedgewick showcases their various stylistic abilities in”Backslider”. The piece starts out with the faintest drum building into the choral background performed by the Common Pulse choral ensemble directed by Lydia Lane. The choral line blends in and out concluding with an angelic echo as if they’re singing in a grand church hall.
A smooth transition works into the opening of “Mirrors”. This piece, like many others on the album, exhibits a great use of strings adding the perfect colors and dynamics to the story. Also like many songs from Collapse, “Mirrors” bends mediocre lyrical structure and instead streams together unique poetic lines such as ” I took toward the sun/ Gave up everything I could become/ Saw the ghost of my false sympathies/Forging iron to bear down on me”.
The title track plays as a short transitional piece with an interesting section of electronic sounds before building into the percussion of “Before Us”. Both songs are short and work well together building a narrative into the fantastical feel of ominous sounds peering in through the verses.
The same sense of dark dreamy rock remains with “Red Moon” beginning with a static vocal line “Spiderwebs of smoke crawlin’ down, drifting down/ Fireflies leavin’ trails of light/ Buzzin’ ‘round in a dark sky”. The energy builds with each note, leading to a choir chorus repeating the line “Red moon rising” followed by the steady push of percussion and distorted instrumentation.
Wrapping up the album is “Lifted”, a personal favorite. It combines a number of musical elements heard throughout the album; beautiful guitar licks, strong vocals and lyricism, catchy rhythmic lines and powerful dynamics. It’s a satisfactory end to Sedgewick’s first full-length musical journey.
Sedgewick’s next performance will be Friday, November 10 at Burlington Bar.