Almost Honest – Seiches And Sirens

With a name as cheesy as Almost Honest, I expected an uninspiring combo led by the progeny of some aging UK rock star trying hard to forge her / his own identity. This Pennsylvanian trio seems anything but: far from uninspiring, the madcap antics of sophomore album Seiches And Sirens (Electric Talon Records) is an example of Stoner’s potential to be versatile and fluid.

The rattling rifles of fuzzy riffs and bludgeoning drums kick off opener ‘Fool’s Gold Rush’, soon dropping into a warped Desert meander with Shayne Reed’s vocal a gravelly, Grunge-flavoured harmony. The rampant coda is calmed by the Soundgarden-lite ‘Keystone’, it’s chugging riff and rolling bassline lightened by airy harmonies and a skipping solo.

Despite the songcraft, there’s an irritating element of nu-Metal present in these early stages which cheapens the effect. There’s a more hoarse, Stoner feel to the motoring ‘Interstellar Executive’, while there’s a serious nod to latter-era Pearl Jam in the Blues-Psych of ‘Whale Bones’ which indicates a move toward allowing each member to truly express their talents.

Seth Jackson’s warping bass carries the thunderous, crazy groove of ‘Dancing Shaman And The Psychedelic Cactus’ high on its considerable shoulders, but there remains a diluting factor in Reed’s nonsensical, unnecessary spoken section.

The spacey ‘Stonecutter’ melds weight with whimsy in a delightful Heavy / Prog / Funk amalgam, the cascading chorus irresistibly catchy: while the crushing stoner-Folk of ‘Jenny Greenteeth’, a mythical ghoul used by many a UK parent to warn children away from riverbanks, is a bluster of melody and grinding, eerie power. Another fantasy figure is referenced in the twisted melodies of ‘Call Of The Mothman’, its chanted choruses giving way to a smoking mid-section and denouement.

The second half of the album outshines the first in a big way: Rock ‘n’ Roll merging with a Cornell-style vocal in the hulking, buzzing ‘Wimadvhv’, with Quinten Spangler’s drum patterns coming to the fore; while closer ‘Uproot’ is a return to a staccato stomp, a blend of Mastodon-esque Prog Metal and ripping Heavy Rock. Recovering from a shaky beginning, Seiches And Sirens eventually proves well worthy of a few spins.

6 / 10

PAUL QUINN