Review by Shannon Shumaker
To say that Searfair’s new album The Querencia is anything less than a masterpiece would be an understatement. It is always a pleasant surprise to be completely blown away by a band upon the first time listening to them, and that’s exactly what happened to me when listening to The Querencia for the first time. Carried heavily by a gorgeous string section and beautiful, powerful and inviting vocal melodies, Seafair’s The Querencia is the perfect album for springtime. At any point while listening to this album, you can close your eyes and be transported into a different mood or a different place, which is what any great album should do.
The intro into the album, “Dovetail” is beautiful and cinematic, carried completely by a beautiful string arrangement, and flows perfectly into the perfect song to introduce you to Seafair; “Vultures.” Frontwoman Chayla Hope’s powerful yet soft vocals blend incredibly well with the cello and violin in “Vultures.” I’ve never heard a band that manages to combine multiple string instruments with a full band before and sound so solid, and that sound is showcased amazingly in this track. Vocally, though, “Vultures” absolutely sells me on this album. As I’m writing this review on a rainy Thursday morning, this song (and The Querencia as a whole) is the perfect soundtrack for my day. It’s so easy to close your eyes and get lost in this music.
The Querencia only seems to get better and better as it progresses, too. Just when you think that no song could possibly top “Vultures,” “DIM” comes in and completely blows it away. “DIM” is an upbeat progression from the first couple of songs, carried heavily by strong guitar in the beginning, sweeping violin parts and strong percussion as the song goes on. And of course, the vocals on “DIM” are flawless, sweeping through the chorus with ease. There are also some subtle vocal harmonies peppered into the song that really add to it and make it feel even fuller. The storytelling and imagery in the lyricism in the following track, “Inferno” is absolutely beautiful. The song is much more stripped down sounding than the songs before it, but it isn’t any less strong.
One of the coolest things about The Querencia is how all of the instruments (vocals included) compliment one another and fit together flawlessly. Some great examples of this are in the fifth and sixth tracks, “The Score” and “Ohio,” which hosts some incredible sweeping violin parts, a beautiful key part, and vocals that sit aside all of the instruments amazingly. “The Score” feels like a masterpiece in itself, all the way up to the huge ending, and the time and key changes in “Ohio” feel effortless. The vocals are beautiful, and the sweeping violin part is simply incredible, as well. The final track, “Top of a Hill,” is also worth mentioning because of the way it stands out from the rest of the album. Stripped down with only vocals and keys, “Top of a Hill” is emotional and beautiful. The vocal work in this song is absolutely remarkable, as the emotion in Hope’s vocals is palpable. You can really feel the emotion in this song, which makes it the perfect closing track.
After listening to The Querencia all the way through, it’s hard to believe that Seafair are still unsigned. This album is a total journey from start to finish, and on top of that, it’s just easy to listen to. The Querencia is calming and relaxing without ever becoming boring because there is just so much going on in the instrumentation and composition, but never to the point where it becomes too much or distracting. Seafair have created something truly unique and beautiful with this album, and it is well worth listening to again and again.
Listen to "DIM" or "Ohio"