Kiseleff – “A Sound Seal”

Album Reviews | Aug 29th, 2011

Record Label: Scol Paig
Genre: New Wave
Band Link:
Buy on

UK pop-rocker Al Renwick wrote this album to document his Scottish ancestors’ emigration to North America. I cringed at the thought of long bagpipe dirges, embarrassing Gaelic folk, and Residents-like proto-Americana, all with personal lyrics that no one else could possibly care about. Understandably, I delayed spinning this CD.

Big mistake on my part. Kiseleff’s style is straight-up British new wave/synth pop a la New Order, Simple Minds, Depeche Mode, and Human League. Coupled with the cerebral, storytelling lyrics and serious subject matter, it’s an impressive and surprising album. It’s quite possibly the most synthy/poppy album about Scottish genealogy out there.

The only downside is that the vocals have that gargly, froggy Ian Curtis low register. If Joy Division/Bauhaus-type vocals don’t bother you, it shouldn’t be a problem. Also, while they perfectly emulate that retro sound, no songs stuck out as instantly catchy, the way those 80s tunes would burrow and get stuck in your brain.

Bottom Line: Sad songs about sailing the seas never sounded this synthy!
Notable Tracks: Quicksilver Universe, Savannah, The Word, The City Sublime, New World
Overall Rating:


, , ,