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“Maison” by Seal Party

Soul takes more than technique – you’re either born with it, trained how to use it, and know how to put it into practice, or you don’t, and Seal Party definitely knows what they’re doing in this department. From the moment the heady, grit-ridden vocals enter their new single “Maison” forward, it’s obvious that we’re listening to something summoned as much from the gut as it is the heart, and scarcely is there a moment in which this band isn’t putting some extra oomph on the statements they’re making. Lyrics are only half the equation here; feeling, and specifically the strength of delivery, is the real center of “Maison.”

I really like the blush of the piano parts in this track, and it never feels indulgent next to the other elements in the song at all. Truth be told, I think “Maison” wouldn’t have sounded as authentic were it not swinging harder than a drunk stumbling out of a bar at the end of the night, and it takes a little bit of excess from the band for us to get to that physicality here. Decadence has a place in music, and to me, it’s in a single like this one.

The slow rhythm of the instruments and their attached verses extends the catharsis that the poetic emissions K-Seal is breaking off at the microphone, and I personally can’t imagine this track having the same kind of weight were it played at a faster pace. Finding their center comes easy for Seal Party at the start of “Maison,” and from what I can tell their main aim is to stretch the feeling we begin this single with throughout the entirety of its running time, which requires as much finesse as it does dedication to the arrangement set before them.

There’s something very ominous about the bassline in this mix, and yet it doesn’t yield a melancholic mood as much as it does one that feels menacing and danger-laden. Seal Party like to play with the shadows in their music, and it’s only because of this moxie that a distraught beat in “Maison” and the distressed harmonies it frames are able to communicate as much as any lyrics ever could. This is a well-rounded piece of material, and hopefully just a slice of what this band is going to be producing on the regular in the future.

Late-night vibes and an acerbic command of melodicism make “Maison” a must-listen for this critic, and if you’ve got the chance to check out the new music Seal Party is working on, I recommend starting with this song’s video before anything else. These guys are onto something very familiar and yet abrasively different from what a lot of other soul-influenced rock acts are playing at the moment, and if they can harness all of the fringe elements that dot the background in “Maison,” they’re likely going to have enough to produce a whole string of interesting tracks before the end of this year (or maybe even sooner).

Mindy McCall



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