The surrealism of Sealionwoman’s debut album makes a whole lot more sense once you realise the context: inspired by the Selkies of Scottish folklore (water-dwelling beasts who morph from seal to human upon landing ashore), ‘Siren’ comprises a blend of vocals, double bass and electronics. The results, though innovative and interesting, are at times a little trying.
Indeed, there’s a time and place for this kind of music: ‘Siren’ is best suited to late-night introspection and quiet contemplation. In any other setting, its myriad layers would be tricky to take in. Formed by way of a fortuitous chance meeting of Scottish-born jazz vocalist Kitty Whitelaw and bass player Tye McGivern, the duo experiment with a sound that’s challenging to categorise, and for that reason, Sealionwoman should be commended.
There are moments here that shine: the sporadic melancholy of the strings that flitter throughout add depth and clarity, and there’s obvious skill at play in McGivern’s instrumental prowess.
For something so informed by jazz and ambient music, though, it’s rarely easy listening, and difficult to imagine it truly working outside of a performance/artistic context.