Seratone - Demo Review

The Seratone demo has finally arrived, so what of it. Well, the quality of the songs that was evident on the initial 4-track is still there, indeed Fixate has made it onto this demo. To these ears, at times it's a triumph of the songs over the production. Sometimes the guitar sound tends to go tinny and over percussive for my tastes. But that's what demos are all about anyway.

However, the 3 songs on offer here are all good, and show the emergence of the band from the initial 'Britrock' leaning that sprung to mind, to a more diverse and experimental sound, reflecting I guess the diversity of their influences, whilst not cloning them. Think, a band that cites Prodigy, Dub War, Fugazi, Quicksand, Faith No More, Tool in amongst the influences, and you have scope for something interesting. For the most part, the demo is pretty uptempo, but then, just when you think that maybe things need a little change, along comes perhaps a slight reggae break to change the tempo and feel.

The still in use drum machine adds a precision to things. With my current obsession with the new Pitchshifter album (you'd not noticed?), I wonder if it couldn't be used to add a few more breaks and beats and little twists into things. After all, there's nothing wrong with using one as the 'shifter have proven, so why not use it to it's fullest.

Feel the Pain, Repetition and Fixate are the 3 songs. Feel the Pain opens up with a familiar sounding guitar and a small guitar solo, before the main riff crashes in. The vocals from both Gemma and Nicky sound a more sure this time, though maybe still a bit clean for my liking. Yep, contradictary bastard I know. One band is too rough, the next too clean. The entire song reminds me of something which I can't put my finger on. Again! good songs tend to do that to me, always think they remind me of something, and pretty much I'm always way off the mark.

Repetition features a Reggae sound on top of a guitar riff which carries on relentlessly in the background, before Gemma and Nicky share the vocals on the chorus. And it's the share of vocals, which is one of the twists the band have over many others.

Fixate is probably the catchiest song on the demo, and is probably the most straightforward and punky track. Short, snappy, uptempo and featuring the most instant chorus of the lot. It also has another guitar part which brings Therapy? to mind.

The copy of the demo that I received came with the added bonus of an extra seven tracks recorded live at a recent gig, including a cover of Fugazi's Waiting Room from 13 Songs. The guitar sound on that recording is more true to what I would probably be looking for. But then, I'm no record producer. However, it adds up to a package where for 1.50 you can't really go wrong. If you don't like it, then at least you can look people honestly in the face the next time that you claim to care about music and listen to new and up and coming bands. And so what, for that cost you've missed out on a pint.

Since the recording of the demo, guitarist Stef has left the band, leaving Chris as the sole guitarist, a setup the band intend to continue with. Fixate is to appear on a compilation album showcasing bands from the Newcastle area. They've done various gigs, including supporting the King Prawn. The band have also been busy writing new material, and hope to be able to record again soon. There'll be an interview with them in the next issue.

In the meantime, for further details and to get a copy of the demo, which costs £1.50, and of course, you know you want to, contact the band at:

101 Bentinck Road, Elswick, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE4 6UX.

Nicky - 0191 236 2276, Chris - 0191 272 1535

Or of course, just go to the web page.