For the last two and half years Brian Florian aka New Seeds has been working on his album Transcending Days. With twelve tracks and one song that goes over the ten-minute mark there's a lot to take in. According to Florian, “The album is a reflection of my thoughts as a current citizen of the United States and its oppressive political structure.” That is a broad statement that deserves scrutiny as well as answers from Florian.
Some of the lyrics do provide some clarity as to the particulars but it's not straightforward per se as bands like Rage Against The Machine. Youth has been anti-establishment for about as long as there has been establishment. Hate the corporations, hate the politicians, you get the drift. I’ve heard artists that have had this sentiment that have made me cringe and artists who pull it off. Luckily Florian falls into the category of the latter despite some jumbled messages.
He opens with “You & I” which is a good opener. It’s catchy and well written. His vocals were a little too buried for my liking but good stuff and the lyrics seem to have to do with politics. The next song “Rolling Dices” which is an instrumental track is the highlight. I was thoroughly enjoying the sax which takes the the lead. The whole song is great including the great jazz drumming.
Next up is “Circling the Drain.” The lyrics here are pretty straightforward. Government sucks, the fat cats are profiting type of thing. He sings,“Washing down the drain / Government’s to blame / Circling the drain, corporatists all gain.”
“The Garden Grows” is just a nice song with lyrics about happiness in the sunshine. I like this one. Lyrically, the mood can’t charge more on the following song “When Violence is the Only Noble Life.” He sings, “The weight of a military gun / Held by the hands of a little one / With his bones frail and weak / Born into hell upon his streets.”.I have no idea if this song is about a particular conflict but it could apply to many.
As the album progresses Florian jumps to seemingly disparate topics from loneliness to the afterlife. He will then go into another song like “The Power & the Greed” which fits back into his political theme. The other highlights are “Lucid Dreaming” and “Transcending Days” which is another instrumental track.
Transcending Days has a number of inspired moments but unfolds them in such a fragmented way. The fact that he closes with two instrumental tracks with one being over ten minutes long doesn’t in any way recapitulate the messages he put forth throughout the other tracks. If you’re going to do a political album you really either need to go all in or not. Some of the tracks clearly revolve around a similar theme such “Circling the Drain,” “When Violence is the Only Noble Life” and “The Power & the Greed.” It's extremely hard as a listener to make a case for how a song like “Some Afterlife” ties into these aforementioned songs anyway. It may for Florian himself but it should be clear to the audience as well.
Overall, the music is more than enjoyable. The melodies are there and the delivery is spot on. As for tying in themes and messages Florian gets about a C but as far as the music goes he is ahead of the class.
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