Legend of the Seagullmen – Legend of the Seagullmen (Dine Alone Records)

Legend of the Seagullmen – Legend of the Seagullmen (Dine Alone Records)

Supergroup in partial delivery of goods shock!

I don’t know why I’m listening to this. I hate Tool – their drummer Danny Carey is involved in Legend of the Seagullmen – I actively dislike MastodonBrent Hinds plays guitar – I despise DethklokPete Griffin plays Seagull bass – and I’ve never heard of Jimmy Hayward, who plays guitar and is apparently a film director, or vocalist David ‘The Doctor’ Dreyer or indeed anyone else connected with the project. I generally stay away from anything tagged ‘supergroup’ if its at all possible, and yet here I am, listening to the eponymous debut by this much-admired collection of individuals…

… And I’m listening because surprisingly it’s not half bad. Tracks like Shipswreck offer beefed-up seventies prog and make it fit for purpose in the twenty first century. Imagine a brooding, sinister mix of Mountain and Ram Jam, if you will – and if that makes you salivate then you might be on to something here. Add in some Frank Marino-styled guitar histrionics and it’s like punk never happened.

Which I guess in some way is the point of these retro-rock extravaganzas. Now that we’re all post-modern hipsters it’s OK to like this stuff again (I never stopped – ED.), provided our beards and plaid shirts pass muster, so why not just surrender and allow this flock of super-Seagulls to take you on their knowingly-constructed flight of fantasy?

Curse of the Red Tide is only six and a half minutes but seems to fit in an awful lot into that timespan – it’s the Rime of the Ancient Mariner for time poor millennials – but the more straightforward title track isn’t so ambitious or, for that matter entertaining. More interesting are tracks like The Orca which offer sprawling musical passages with some superb classic metal riffage and propulsive drumming from Carey, whose work is actually admirable throughout. And if you like Captain Beefheart cock an ear towards Rise of the Giant – it’s sure to bring a smile to your face…

At the end of the day there’s still a slight whiff of ‘style over substance’ over some of the material here, especially as trendy media people seem to have been enthusing about this project for quite some time now, but the gulf between what I personally was expecting and what the band delivers means that this album is a surprise success as far as I’m concerned. Have a listen and see what you make of it all.

Legend of the Seagullmen is out now on Dine Alone Records

Michael Stronge

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