?Seawards? by the Swedish Sickoakes sextett is one of those albums you can lose yourself in. There is nothing particularly special about the kind of post/space/whatever rock they play. There are many bands that you could compare them to: Landing, Subarachnoid Space, Surface of Eceyon, Tarentel, etc. But the dense atmosphere that these Swedes create over seven tracks is really hard to get away from.
The slow album opener ?Driftwood? with its melancholic weeping guitar melds into the dreamy ?Taking the Stairs Instead of the Elevator? and by now, the listener is already caught. There?s a brief pause and then the epic ?Oceans on Hold? begins. A short intro leads into a fast part with delayed guitar riffs repeating and repeating until it all collapses. Then the same motive is played again slower with some glockenspiel accompanying the guitar and the rhythm section. This gets slowed down towards the end of the track until time almost stands still. That moment is actually a good opportunity to filter out the different elements of Sickoakes? incredibly dense sound. In a way it sounds like six people each playing minimal music with only a few chord changes, but taken together they deliver a larger-than-life experience.
If you thought Sickoakes couldn?t get any more majestic after ?Oceans on Hold?, wait until you hear the two part ?Wedding Rings & Bullets in the Same Golden Shrine.? It almost gets too much there. Part 1 serves as an intro and Part 2 starts with yet another intro. Then Sickoakes slowly but steadily begin to build up tension with layer upon layer of hazy guitar and synthesizer fog. Glockenspiel and brass instruments join the game and at the 10-minute mark it?s time to let the balloon burst and have colorful confetti glide down from the sky, followed by an outro that is way too long. If I had to criticize anything else in the song, it would be the slightly cheesy U2 sounding guitar. But cosidering the overall greatness of ?Wedding Rings & Bullets in the Same Golden Shrine?, it doesn?t cost much to overlook that aspect. The album closes with the melancholic ?Leonine?, which leads the way back to the first song of the album. It?s more than worth joining Sickoakes on their tour. 7/10 -- Stephan Bauer (27 June, 2006)