Though Montreal trio Seoul have been dormant since its 2015 release, their one and only album, I Become a Shade, continues to pack a vivid punch.
Humour me: what colour or hue do you feel yourself resonate with when listening to I Become a Shade, the first (and so far only) LP from Seoul? Though this Montreal-based trio of Dexter Garcia, Julian Flavin, and Nigel Ward (accompanied by a couple more touring partners) have been dormant for the past three years, their 2015 release continues to pack a punch of vivid shades and pigments.
Seoul uses a deliberate aesthetic of shaded symbolism as I Become a Shade’s cleverly-crafted compositions drift from one into another. The cover art should easily raise one’s curiosity. It gears me towards thinking of lighter shades and hues: a nice toasty beige; a murky Spanish gray; a simple snowy white. After all, Seoul makes no mistake in naming one of the few transition pieces in the back half of the album “Carrying Home Food in Winter”. Doesn’t that paint quite a picture? You live close enough to a grocery store or pizza parlour, so that seven-minute walk shouldn’t feel like much. It’s not until the return trip, when your hands are ravaged by the frigid winds, that you question why you just didn’t call for one of several taxis zipping passed you on the crowded city streets.
Shade has a second meaning that defines Seoul’s record and gives it depth: to screen from light. I Become a Shade offers comfort and cover from the tribulations that taint the beautiful colours of your own life. One of my favourite tracks, “Haunt / A Light” encourages the listener to “light a mind” and not obsess about the things that you’ve put behind yourself. Whether it’s the stress of your job, the burdens of school, arguments with your partner, or — as is in my case — procrastinating getting this post done (isn’t that ironic?), I Become A Shade is the kind of album that can block all that out.