From the first swooping notes of Seafair’s The Querencia, the Cleveland sextet grabs your attention with warm cello and confident violin lines that beautifully intertwine. “Dovetails” displays the brilliant classically trained musicians that make up one third of the group, but it is when the full band enters with an easy segue into “Vultures” that the charismatic magic that sets them apart becomes truly apparent. The guitar comes to life, bringing with it the bass, keyboard and drumset and a joyous marriage unfolds between these new voices and those established by the strings. Frontwoman Chayla Hope’s voice rises amidst her bandmates’ acrobatics, a self-assured alto that will hold your attention throughout the album. There is something about Hope’s voice that brings to mind the powerful belt of Gwen Stefani, but where Stefani slinks, Hope brazenly croons. “Come clean and tell me what’s behind you,” she insists on “DIM.”
A perfect balance of delicate and heavy-hitting tracks comprise this ten-track masterpiece. “The Score” offers a softness in Hope’s voice as her keyboard lines sparkle. “Ohio” gets your blood pumping as its percussive beat becomes your own before the band erupts in a frenzy as the song reaches its conclusion. “Birdhouse” glitters as delicate keyboard and violin voices interlace with the band’s open lyricism, paying a beautiful tribute. Things get a little trippy on “Not a Cure,” but the experimentation is not too wild.
“Discovery” embraces diversity and authenticity, but it is with “Inferno” that you will find the fighter’s spirit that defines Seafair. “We’re not pretty like they say we ought to be / yet they claim, pain is beauty / we found love where it ought to be / we’ve got heart, we’ve got heart,” Hope sings and it’s as good a mantra for the unsigned sextet as any. Seafair blends the classical with the untamed wildness of a traditional band format, creating a sound completely unto itself, a sound that embraces differences as indicators of strength and beauty, while delivering authentic music that has so much heart it demands your ears. Offer them willingly.