Bloodthirsty Lovers: The Delicate Seam

The Delicate Seam continues Dave Shouse’s growth as an artist as each song shows a different facet of his broad musical ability and scope. On "Now You Know," Shouse sings, "Give me drop-dead rock n roll"; throughout the album he answers his own call. For instance, "The Conversation" features a thick, four-note bass line that descends deep into the hard-hitting, Bonham-style drumming that accompanies it, sounding more like a lost track from Led Zeppelin’s In Through The Out Door days than, say, Led Zeppelin III. In other places, such as "El Shocko," the mood completely changes to a late ’60s style psychedelic doo-wah tune complete with effect-laden vocals and rollicking piano. The only thing that would’ve kept it off the radio in those days is the last quarter of the song, which sees pulsing and fluttering synths replace everything but the vocal track.

Furthering the inconsistent feel of the album is the closer, "Medicated," which blends back-porch, biker-bar and nightclub attitudes. Electronic drums back lap steel and acoustic guitar, and push the beat limit for this type of ballad. Katie Eastburn’s (of Young People) beautiful guest vocals, though, pull it all together. She trades lines with Shouse in front of a pumping organ and pounding drums (real ones, now) for a nice, climactic ending to this amorphous album.

Despite its ever-changing nature, The Delicate Seam is a solid album. Each song easily retains its identity and is strong enough to stand on its own, but also sounds a little out of place when compared to the previous and subsequent tracks. That inconsistency, therefore, is probably the album’s weakest and strongest point. It clearly displays the talent of the band and Shouse’s vast creativity, but some listeners’ heads might be turned a little too far with each successive track to be able to keep an interested ear pointed at it.

Andy Heater
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