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SEQUOIA ‘Ebb & Flow’ (2005)

This is a nice CD. To be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect. And on first play I still wasn’t sure. It sounded rather ‘nice’ in a Haircut 100 sort of way. ‘Nice’ in a Keane sort of way. Nice in a clean bass, drums, guitar and piano sort of way. Maybe even a splash of The Monkees. Get the picture? Cleancut lads, nice songs, nothing overly complicated.

As their publicity blurb says, Sequoia write songs that are melodic, emotional and catchy. I wouldn’t argue with that. They also, apparently, make you think about your life and how you lead it. Not sure about that – I haven’t felt any bouts of soul-searching coming on yet - but who knows? And they seamlessly mix genres such as alt-country and classic British 60’s rock and roll. Again, spot on.

The opening 'Laura Valentine' sets the scene – a song about infatuation – and has a distinct Beautiful South / Housemartins flavour to it. The vocals on 'Boy Who Saved The World' also has a little of Paul Heaton’s inflections in the delivery. The opening strains of 'Brand New Plan' bring to mind 'The House Of The Rising Sun' before chiming guitars belt into an excellent up-tempo rock n roll number. It could easily be a hit. Ebb & Flow the title track is a reflective number.

For the most part this is a gentle retrospective album with just the odd moments of rocking out. 'She Turns The Key' makes excellent use of Dylanesque harmonica. There’s some lovely lead guitar work on 'Just Another'. 'Smile To Take' has an innocence of some of the early punk bands. There’s plenty of acoustic, piano and angst. But that’s a fairly competitive genre.

Several plays later it still sounds nice. 'Laura Valentine' and 'Brand New Plan' still the stand out tracks (for me anyway). Even the CD label is nice – it looks like a slice through a tree. Pity the CD’s so good. If it had been crap it would have made a nice coaster.


Review by Pete Whalley

Brand New Plan
© 2005 Sequoia. All rights reserved.

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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