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Flames & Figures Tru Thoughts

How far can you push pop towards other genres? I always assumed the beauty of pop is that you can take morsels out of other styles and present them in the hope the uninitiated can be attracted to the rim, that thin line that acts as a wall between pop and a myriad of genres. The Seshen is pop, only not. Like the intersecting parts of a Venn diagram, The Seshen try to be several things at once. It works. Dream pop, funk, jazz and downtempo have a place in Flames & Figures, their newest album. Trip hop in a normalised, Gaussian filtered way.

Remember 2002, when ambient and chill-out electronica dominated a thousand cafés? The Seshen do, but they only copy the method of delivery. The message is a whole different league above. Deceptively pop, the tracks on Flames & Figures emanate gorgeous soundscapes that are both refreshing and alarming. ‘Firewalker’ has a certain intensity that clashes with its breezy demeanour.

Even when some of the techniques work against the band, like the slowed-down vocals on ‘Waiting For You’, the music wins. Sometimes the approach is minimalist, like on ‘Other Spaces’, which takes the route of Nedry, a stripped-back version of trip hop, engaging and sweet. Flames & Figures succeeds at making too many genres work together in a palatable dish. Never too spicy, never too saucy, never too dry. The right mix for a good sampling of what you can do with pop, and more.

Sam J. Valdés López