Actions And Indications
By: Eric G.
When Nevermind was breaking big almost eight years ago, Tacoma, Washington’s Seaweed was churning out grunge-tinged pop punk for Sub Pop that was emotional, energetic, and uncharacteristically melodic. Each album got better, and, with Four, Seaweed was poised for bigger and better things. The band signed with Hollywood Records, a death knell for almost every band on its roster (remember The Fluid?…The Dead Milkmen?). Seaweed claimed it signed to the majors just to make a “louder” record. The first release on Hollywood, Spanaway, didn’t stray too far from the band’s signature sound even though it revealed experimentation with songwriting techniques and effects.
After a brief stint on MTV with “Not Saying Anything”, Seaweed disappeared for practically four years. The band has returned to the indies though not on Sub Pop but on Chapel Hill’s Merge. “Red Tape Parade” provides a glimpse of the struggle with Hollywood and to get a new record out: “lost in litigation/I don’t wanna wait no more.” Seaweed makes a welcome return with Actions And Indications. Losing some of the production muscle of Spanaway, Seaweed harkens back to its Sub Pop days with renewed force and vigor. Songs like “Antilyrical” and “What Are We Taking?” pack emotional punches with melodic hooks and climactic choruses. One of the album’s brightest spots is Seaweed’s raucous cover of Joy Division’s “Warsaw.”
Actions And Indications manages to sound like the fruit of an experienced band coming into its own while retaining a sense of naïve energy. The album ends with a dark turn on “Stay Down”: “I could live on nothing/all possessions sold/lost in promised ruin/left us feeling cold.” The music is comparatively light for Seaweed here with breezy vocals and laid back guitars, but it shows considerable promise for the future. Let’s just hope Merge is a better home than Hollywood, so Seaweed can make up for lost time.