As the third or fourth rush of blood hits your forehead, a brief glance at the CD player reveals that you're only three minutes in. You've already experienced two album-defining moments of perfection, two that form but one per cent of what Beautiful Seizure has to offer.
The formula for this album is pretty simple, really: take the sum of all of your favourite records since you started listening to music seriously, rip out the filler and make an LP containing only the heart-wrenching, ear-pounding, mind-bending and all-too-beautiful epochs, condense it to 55 minutes and unleash it on an unsuspecting journalist who, intrigued, plays the album once and listens to nothing else for months.
To call this an accessible record would be inaccurate: the Chicago three-piece hide their impressive melodies inside locked boxes that are littered liberally across the entirety of the LP, whilst the keys are placed at inopportune moments where another unpredictable turn is taken to either re-define the richter scale, or glide up the side of a mountain, ineffably beautiful wings open at full-stretch, the talk of the town.
The nine-minute 'Red and White Bells' puts on the kind of schizophrenic display that gritty Hollywood directors have wet dreams over and is the perfect showcase for the violently alternating tones of the album as a whole. Followed closely by 'Apple or a Gun', the nearest thing to a single in earshot, an almost structureless epic that builds from sprawling synthesized screams to vocal melodies and harmony, sub-disco drumming, the insides of a thousand slightly malfunctioning tanks and the lyrical summation of the entire album:_ "a gift so ambiguous, it could be an apple or a gun."
It's pointless to try and sum up the knife that the opening two minutes of 'Easy Does It' jabs into your sides; cataclysmic instrumentation vomits into your ears in the most beautiful and indescribably life-affirming way feasible, giving way to the genesis of a slightly more tangible song, enabling composure to be regained long enough for the next perfect war to take place, on record and indeed, inside your head.
What volcano! have achieved in simple terms, is to create the most forward-looking, genre-eschewing, sense-battering album I've honestly ever heard. When it's not comforting you and drawing you toward the bosom of inane glee, it's hitting you repeatedly with a selection of instruments and implements, the kind of beating that the sadomasochistic community thrive upon.
To ignore it, is to deny yourself a most beautiful voyage, a beautiful dream, a beautiful moment and most definitely, a Beautiful Seizure.
10Colin Roberts's Score