After the release of Mark Bogert's fabulous solo album A Story In Parts (2014, see review), another guitar slinger got the chance to let the world be part of his music. This time young guitarist, or should I say multi-instrumentalist, Sebas Honing had the honour to present his first Freia release. Being part of several projects like the band Equisa and the Van Halen tribute 5150, as well as always fooling around, playing styles like blues rock, pop, gothic and shoe gaze, have laid the foundation of Songs Of Seas And Oceans. Because of this, the album shows a lot of variations in music, partly because of the fact that the majority of the songs contain vocals, all sung by Sebas himself, except for the composition The Sea Life. The album itself is a concept album with the recurring theme of “Water”.
More or less obliged for a concept album is the instrumental opener, this time simply called Intro. A pleasant soundscape, filled with water sounds and nice melodic guitar line in it. The intro leads into Full Waves , which at first is an extension of the first composition, but soon the heavier guitars set the tone. As Sebas vocals begin, I can't help getting the feeling being thrown back to the years when grunge ruled the world. During this song he sometimes reminds me of Alice In Chains' late vocalist Lane Staley. The style of Sebas's vocals gives this song a bit of a doomy and darker touch. The solo is nice and melodic and the waves in the background keep washing upon the coast. The following Aquarial is kept to the basics; acoustic guitar and vocals and a singer-songwriter atmosphere. The mix sounds special; you can hear the vocals behind the guitar, which gives the song a different kind of vibe. During the next composition, The Big Wave, Sebas decided to give me a hard time. I totally like the song, good lyrics, nice melody, very catching and cool mood changes, yet I get annoyed when listening to the wonderful solo. Reason? Sebas uses programmed drums, which really come forward during the solo and don't do to the song any justice. Luckily he makes up for it in the second part of the song. Coral ends up to be my favourite composition of the album, where the more bluesy style of Andy Timmons sounds perfect. Some Steve Vai reminiscent sounds finish this cake. Like I said earlier, this album knows a lot of styles. How Deep? definitely has been influenced by Steven Wilson's music, but the guitar solo parts differ and make the composition more (one of) his own. Beauty On The Beach is a quiet and relaxed song, which focusses on the vocals, more poppy than the rest of the compositions, but just as good. The Sea Life sees guest vocals by Sebas's partner Petra Honing, that combine greatly with the male vocals. The song has a soft country music feel over it, that is mixed with acoustic pop. A side step with post-rock elements is the short interlude Entrance To Atlantis. More up-tempo is Under The Moon, a song where influences from Britpop pass by; a very radio friendly composition. Like most concept albums the final composition closes the circle, here the Outro brings back the waves under a smooth acoustic guitar.
I have to admit, Sons Of Sea And Oceans needed some extra spins to reveal it's inner beauty. The variation- and style-changes during the album could make this CD more accessible to a wider audience, but on the other side, if you are narrowed down to just one style, this album will not be the easiest one for you. Too bad for some (programmed) drum parts that are too prominent.
***+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Esther Ladiges)
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