With the cyclical nature of music, there are bound to be sounds that keep crawling their way into our present day. How can you not savor something that is already familiar, that just feels like a small piece of home or a bite of your mom’s favorite dish that you only tried years after moving out and surprised yourself in shame that you had forgotten how delicious it tasted? Often times, however, these sounds and their creators exhausted themselves trying too hard to pay tribute to their predecessors, that unfortunately miss the mark completely. One thing is to revisit the past with a modern take, and another is to include the fading memories that also made them forgettable. Fortunately for this world, the Los Angeles-by-way-of-Provo duo Sego, have created an immersive experience of collected sounds that challenge what you once knew, while still disrupting what you know today.
Within minutes of entering the biosphere of their debut album, Once Was Lost Now Just Hanging Around, depicted by lightly controlled undertones of the 90s indie rock scene, euphoric synthesized notes and vocals masked with distorted frequencies, Sego establishes itself with the intro track “Obscene Dream”. Personally, the song gave me goosebumps and not because of the production quality, which is remarkably clear and balanced, or their infectious choruses (that are just as catchy as wearing Toms in 2012), but because it frightened me a little to write this review. I couldn’t find words to properly define them. How can you properly define Sego and this precise album? And the longer you spend listening to each track, you come to realize that you don’t. You don’t need to define it to make sense of it. While the intro track might sound like a remixed, more distorted version of early Two Door Cinema Club songs, the following, ‘False Currency’ is reminiscent of a more sporadic Cake with statement-like lyrics that now live in a post-millennial world.
Yet among all the different directions Sego finds itself going, the most appealing quality of the album is undoubtedly its constraint. As eclectic and sometimes even as random as their music appears on the surface, it is apparent in calmer tunes “Stars” and “Fool Around” that they understand the spectrum of music they can deliver. Some tracks find themselves pushing the envelope of what the ears can handle, challenging our own perception of the genres we know, while others are simply smothered with beautiful harmonies, making them a breeze to consume. “Wicket Youth” shines as an example of a delightfully bright indie-electro-pop, mid-summer poolside anthem with enough inherent joy to make you want to do cartwheels.
Ultimately, Once Was Lost Now Just Hanging Around feels like a meticulously ordered playlist of Sego’s own music, which today, is accompanied by the delightfully bizarre animations of from renowned GIF artist Gustavo Torres (a.k.a – Kidmograph). It opens up with robust musical elements meshed and layered together over synthesized blips, kicks and riffs to establish a form of authority that then carries over the rest of the album. Just because they can create these extended experimental experiences, doesn’t mean that is all they will do. What follows is an exciting journey deeply rooted in genuine sounds, nostalgia and inducing a completely new fascination for the married genres they have fused together.
Once Was Lost Now Just Hanging Around, will be out March 4, 2015, in North America and May 6 in UK/Europe.