Album Review :
Seabird - Rocks Into Rivers

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Artist: Seabird
Album: Rocks Into Rivers
Label: Credential Records
Release Date: December 15, 2009
Review by: Michael Mayer III

Tracklisting:

  1. Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful
  2. Believe Me
  3. Sing to Save My Life
  4. Trust
  5. The Good King 
  6. Baby I’m in Love
  7. This Ain’t Home 
  8. The Sound of  You and I
  9. Don’t Change a Thing
  10. This Road
  11. Finally Done Right 
  12. Rocks Into Rivers

It’s always hard to tell what an album will sound like just from a single. Upon listening to ‘Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful’, the first single off of Seabird’s sophomore album Rocks Into Rivers, you might think the piano based pop band has gone on to make dance music. Everything from the heavy bass beat to the quirky vocals gives off that vibe but really this is just a continuation of their debut album. It’s upbeat, uplifting, and chockful of piano with Aaron’s soaring vocals being a trademark highlight.

So what’s that all mean? Well, it’s both a good and a bad thing. The good news is if you loved their debut you’ll find much to love here and shouldn’t hesitate in picking this up at your local store. The bad news is if you prefer bands to constantly explore new territory and redefine themselves there isn’t much of that going on. When they do branch out and throw you some curveballs, either in song structure, sound, or quirkiness, they succeed and craft some fantastic pieces of music that stand out in their young career. ‘The Good King’ and ‘This Ain’t Home’ are perfect examples of this. The former has a very uplifting message about those that may feel alone in this life and to hold on for ‘the Good King’ who is right there and doesn’t see the mistakes you’ve made. The message may seem pretty cut and dry but it’s the vocal delivery of Aaron who has the type of range that sends chills down your spine and puts you in a good mood. The climax stirs the soul with the beautiful piano and other various instruments meshing to perfection.

‘This Ain’t Home’ may seem like a soft ballad at first but, much like ‘Cottonmouth (Jargon)’ off their first album, there’s more beneath the surface. The layered vocals and buildup halfway through is pleasant to listen to and a simple drum beat picks things up all the more. Aaron also hits some high notes I haven’t heard him hit yet. The next two tracks break up the flow of the album a bit. I’m usually all for that as too many songs of the same tempo in a row blend together. In this case, ‘The Sound of You and I’ is a headscratcher as it clocks in at just under two minutes and just seems like an incomplete acoustic track. ‘Don’t Change a Thing’ is also a bit slower and the chorus is a bit underwhelming for what the music behind it sets it up to be. The good thing is Seabird make up for that with a new sound for them on the next two tracks, the bluesy ‘This Road’ and catchy guitar riff driven ‘Finally Done Right’. Interesting thing about that last one, it’s a commentary on Michael Jackson’s life and almost seems a bit tongue-in-cheek at points.

Unfortunately some of the other songs on the album come up flat as well. You’ve heard them done before, standard pop rock fare with little new to offer. Maybe the cynical may say that’s the case about Seabird’s music in general but usually Aaron and company have the right combination of vocal melodies and the like to give each song their own identity. At least that was the case on their debut release, ‘Til We See the Shore. Not so much here and it is a bit disappointing. I kept waiting for some creative hook, fun guitar chord, or powerful climax to send the song to another level and was let down. For that reason Rocks Into Rivers is a hit and miss album that shows the wealth of potential they have, if only they could just constantly tap into it.

Overall: What we have here is an inconsistent album featuring both Seabird’s highs and lows of their still blossoming career. Maybe it’s a case of them putting this together so soon after the debut and it left less room for growth or something as simple as them not reaching their prime yet. Either way, when Seabird thinks outside the box of pop music they create some truly beautiful, inspiring songs that stand out head and shoulders above anything on the radio. There’s enough of that here to warrant a purchase by anyone with a craving for addictive music.

Gems of this album are: ‘The Good King’, ‘This Ain’t Home’, ‘Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful’, ‘Finally Done Right’

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