Semble - s/t
(Squiggly Records 2005, SQRCD02)

From Aural Innovations #33 (March 2006)

I don't quite know how to take the middle of the road ness of it all. Nor can I handle any of the vocals, nor the songs themselves. Sorry, but that's how it goes wi'me, me auld cock'sparra…

Semble are a trio from England, and as you may have guessed from the above remarks, I don't like them at all. Even though I should really, because they list Zither, Saw and Accordion as instruments used. But nay, the songs are rather bland and soppy for me, in truth, and there were moments when I felt like I was listening to the soundtrack to animated Hare caper, Watership Down. Or could I have been walking in the air??? Nay, some other high-pitched, heart rending, ballad strune waffle, mmmmm....

The songs are bad gang, lets face it, and I cannot justify them to myself as a hardcore space freak, let alone beat around the bush about what's to be had therein to you fellow cadets. I'm just building up for the plusses. These come when I think that the band had woken up and started to play music. The bio states Radiohead as a similarity, and I can hear this in a fashion on track 5, "Every Moment", but come on, Radiohead have done that. I also hear a sort of Cranberries rock like feel on the track "I Look Forward". But still not my cup of tea at all. Hippy fakers will love it, I am sure. I am a lover of atmospheres, don't get me wrong, and Semble create atmospheres well. But in my view they go on to spoil them by singing over them. I don't know if I like the voices really, and I guess that this is the reason that I am ill at ease with the CD. I find that I can only get away with the last track, "Then I drift Off", and find that this is probably due to the fact that the vocals are minimal, and low in the mix, in comparison to all that went before.

The sound quality is well produced and the CD definitely gives a good gist of what Semble are about. The musicianship is excellent and together the unit works through an array of vibrational journeys, mostly mellow, but occasionally rocking. All of which is inoffensive to the ear, except the vocals, in my case. I guess that the CD just landed on the wrong desk! Could be due to weather, or a bad beard day, who knows? I'm being as honest as I can be under the circumstances because it could have got very blue, and I could have only used a couple of sentences.

For more information you can visit the Semble web site at:
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Reviewed by Albert Pollard

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