As a fledgling fanzine writer, it seemed implausible that anyone would send anything resembling decent music to an outpost on the Wirral. Thanks to an erroneous listing in a Melody Maker “music industry contacts” poster though a steady trickle of obscurities caused the postman a lumbago issue and helped me to wonder what would end up in the porch from one day to the next.
When Seefeel’s ‘Plainsong EP’ 12-inch arrived,it seemed that for every five freebies, one was not only listenable, but essential. The album didn’t arrive, however, but you don’t mind buying something new when you’re convinced it will resonate.
Seefeel’s debut album ’Quique’ by did more than that, it started a quiet revolution of repetition and thrilling downtempo somnolent bedroom/studio noises that 24 years later is still beautifully epic and (refreshingly) undated.
“Dream pop” is an overused term that is heaped in pathos. As unwieldy as it is, there is a certain degree of truth about it. If ambient textures and lo-fi semi-beats are “dreamy” then ‘Quique’ does indeed have its share, but don’t lump it in with those other albums of the period that possess such qualities. This debut outing brought with it a repetitive nature that has seen its shelflife extend far beyond that of its shoegazing peers. There was nothing quite like it. No. You can’t have Stereolab at this point.
The Cocteaus were obviously an influence, the female lilt veering between an instrument and a chant, but the abilities of Seefeel to use guitars as electronic complements is what makes this record truly gorgeous. Indeed, the band were the first act to sign to Warp Records that actually used guitars.
It’s the structure of the pieces that makes for an uncomplicated mix of drone and quirky ambience. ‘Charlotte’s Mouth’ starts, meanders, builds a tiny amount and then ends. Possibly fading, but not really. ‘Plainsong’ from the EP hints at bold futures and exciting bedroom tinkering with a vocal loop that feels blu tacked on the end.
The languidity of ‘Filter Dub’ will help you sleep because that’s what you are meant to do. The bass line is sublime in its simplicity and drowsy in its execution.
It would seem that this album’s time has come again. The later material on Warp had different dimensions, but ‘Quique’ is a hypnotic dab of the fevered forehead.