Sea Of Sound – Criavia. The Album Review.

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Well, I haven’t done an album review in a very long time, so I’m overdue. And since I haven’t recorded anything in a year, but these guys have, I figure this is as good a place to resume the act of trying to be a music critic.

Criavia is the self produced debut album by the Fresno based  trio Sea Of Sound. The music is, what us older eared people would classify as modern pop / rock. To some, that might be the excuse to skip listening to this album. But there is more underneath the hood with these guys than one has come to expect from this genre. There is some real song writing and musicianship here.

The first track “Rogue” lets the listener that they are going to have a happy upbeat experience. The mixing and production choices reminds me a little of the 80’s band “The Church”, except, well, much more up beat! We are introduced to the drumming skills of Seth Jordan and tasteful expressions of Warren Whitehurst on guitar. Zach Schuh provides a strong voice that matches the strength of the lyric and song writing. His delivery is sure and deliberate, and he avoids the trap of push his voice too hard. His ability to shift from regular voice to falsetto and back again is impressive.

Dear Lavender Skies” is again upbeat. The chorus is an interesting confection, not what you would expect in a typical pop song.

Blush” shows the band in a Dave Mathewsish contemplative mood.

The fourth track, to me, is the standout. “Blue In A Red Room” is pure soundtrack material. So may dismiss this as critical, but seeing that I had a one time in my life wanted to compose soundtracks and even wrote my senior thesis on contemporary TV and film composers, this is a high compliment. The song has a wonderful build to it. Warrens performance during his guitar solos are note-for-note perfect.

Lost Boys” is a Seth Jordan showcase on drums. It’s reminiscent of some of the work by Oasis, with a touch of U2 guitarist Edge thrown in.

Fire And Dust” is the most acoustic affair on the album. This is a very nice song, and provides a nice change of pace you don’t always find with a band as young and new as this. One thing I really like here is they avoid the temptation to take a pause in the middle of the song and then come back in with a huge instrumental avalanche, a la Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars”. Nothing wrong with doing this, but it’s refreshing they refrained from doing it.

The final song “Stardust“, in the short time I’ve lived with the album, is my favorite on the lyrics side of the music ledger. It’s another acoustic guitar based song.

I’ve poured my soul
into this Earth,
And as the dust swirled around
I wonder what a man is truly worth

That is a nice piece of contemplation put into song! I’m a song writer, and I can say that this is as good as anything I’ve ever written, if not better.

On the production side of the ledger, the only thing I’d change is to bring up the drums just a hair in the first couple of tracks. Other than that, this is a very well done album on all sides of the glass, especially when you consider it was produce in a garage converted to a make-shift studio.

Well done guys. Looking forward to the sophomore effort. (and find yourselves a permanent bass player before I threaten to join the band!  🙂  )

Here’s the CD Baby link if you feel the urge to buy the album.