The story of Watashi Wa's Eager Seas is an interesting one to say the least. Didn't Watashi Wa break up? Wasn't their former vocalist Seth Roberts working on a separate project now? The answer to both questions is 'yes.' Seth Robert's project was slated to release late last year through Tooth & Nail as Eager Seas, with the album title being People Like People. When Eager Seas announced via their MySpace page that they had parted ways with Tooth & Nail, many wondered when or if the album would be released. But it was not long at all before Tooth & Nail announced the album would indeed be released, but as Watashi Wa, and the album, not the band, was Eager Seas. A cheap ploy to sell more records under a proven name? Most likely, but setting aside record label politics, Robert's latest project is a beautiful piece of work that lives up to the Watashi Wa name.
Eager Seas can be described as a more folk-ish, laid back, southern Watashi Wa. Less catchy pop/rock, and more instrumentals. The album only gains momentum on a handful of occasions. Robert's trademark voice is soothing and ambient, and really excels in this hybrid of genres, with a haunting echo for most of the album. And though the tone of the album feels more like an evening in the fall, Eager Seas is meant to be played on a bright summer day with the windows down in the company of a close friend. And with its slow rock sensibility, it is especially interesting to discover that Mike Herrera and Yuri Ruley of MxPx play guitar and percussion respectively on many of the tracks.
The musical tone of the album is complemented beautifully by the lyrics found therein. More down to earth, but still reminiscent of Mae's The Everglow, the album is a journey to find love, joy, and contentment. There are glimpses here and there, and always a light at the end of the tunnel. The album ends with the aptly titled "Something to Say," "Today the things familiar to me were gone, and I'm here in some strange place with nothing to say. And all of my life, I've had some place to go. And some purpose to serve. And something to say. If I sing at the top of my lungs, it won't say a thing, if I haven't love."
While this is being marketed as a Watashi Wa record, fans of the band will know better. This is a post-Watashi Wa world whether it's being labeled that or not, and fans should be able to say that without less remorse now that Eager Seas has been released. It's a piece of art from beginning to end, and proves the staying power of Seth Roberts. One listen, and you'll be hooked on the first great album of 2006.- Review date: 01/22/06, written by Josh Taylor
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