The End Of The Beginning EP Reviews
Before anyone starts trying to locate a copy of this disc on the internet, be informed that The End of the Beginning is only being offered as a download EP. Some physical copies were burned for marketing purposes but if you’re looking for this one remember that it is a download. Canada’s Jonathan Seet writes and records impossibly smooth melodic pop with a heavy emphasis on vocal melodies and lyrics. This EP features more than what you normally get. Seet offers eight songs here and each one is a keeper. This guy has a great voice and really knows how to write some killer melodies. It would be almost impossible to dislike smooth smart pop tracks like “The End of the Beginning,” “Down By The Bay” (our favorite), “Stranger In Your Room,” and “Night Bird.” Cool and credible music that comes from the heart.
Canadian Jonathan Seet, one time bassist for Luke Jackson (review here), has released a new CD of arty Brit pop called “The End Of The Beginning”. These 8 tracks make for a consistent listen and, along with his previous releases, lend support to his importance as an evolving songwriter.
The core songwriting themes explored on this EP are “redemption, re-invention, and the replenishing of innocence”. With a voice somewhere between Dan Wilson (Semisonic) and David Mead, Seet is perfectly suited for sending these soothing melodies into your ears. “If The Last Kiss Made You Cry” is my favorite in the batch, but you are not doing yourself any favors by skipping over the somber title track and the epic “Down By The Bay”, which builds slow to a hair-raising climax. “The Lost Week” is also a pleasant track, with acoustic guitars accompanied by keys from the 70s.
Seet will satiate fans of sophisticated pop with this one; those who need more instant gratification may not appreciate it until the third spin or so. Recommended if you like Radiohead, Elbow, or Travis. Note this is a digital only release – available on iTUNES.
Jonathon[sic] Seet has one of those mellow approaches to music which really relaxes the mind as you listen.
In some cases the music has a sort of classical / Queen-esque feel, such as the song Who Is The Man, but generally you can label this pop / rock, although the artist himself adds the adjective ‘melodramatic’ to his description of his music on MySpace (www.myspace.com/jonathanseet ).
Born in Canada, and now living in London, UK, Seet’s music is a tad heavy in mood, all of it rather like a cloudy day. Maybe the famous fogs of London influenced his writing.
That is not to say the music is bad. In fact the title cut and If the Last Kiss Made You Cry are fine tunes. The problem, at least the potential problem is that by the eighth song you are so far down the emotional scale you just crawl into bed and stay there for the rest of the day.
The lyrics aren’t actually that dark, but Seet can compose some dark musical canvasses. In that regard you really have to credit Seet. There is something of a classical mentality to his writing, and that is encouraging.
The aforementioned title cut is the best effort on the disk, although there are no real weak spots either.
An interesting CD worth a listen.
Check him out at www.seet.ca
(Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Jan 5, 2011 – Yorkton, SK. Canada)
Thanks To Science Reviews
“It probably won’t be long before you hear the work of singer-songwriter Jonathan Seet every time you turn on your TV, so completely does he evoke the pop-craft that has been accompanying most major television moments since The O.C. first introduced the idea that a series’ sound-track is almost as important as its story arc. The downside to this is that Seet’s melodies are almost insidiously catchy, leaving them trapped in your subconscious for days; the upside is that by playing his CD over again to rid yourself of this endless repeat, you can suddenly imbue your humdrum regular life with all the trappings of a Major Televised Drama. What could be more exciting than that?”
Michael Lawson, National Post
Arousal Disasters Reviews
“Seet’s voice has the velvety smoothness of a lounge singer with guitars and melodies that sound like he stepped out of Manchester in ’89. Lush and erotic, plush and exotic, Arousal Disasters is one of my favourites. Period.”
Amanda Putz, Producer, CBC Newsworld PLAY
Let me begin by saying that Jonathan Seet has an incredible singing voice: pure, sweet, and capable of reaching seemingly impossible octaves. Indeed, comparisons to Jeff Buckley would not be amiss. However, this sophomore offering from the Toronto singer-songwriter is also a lushly baroque and brooding affair, like the modern score to an Erich von Stroheim film. Dark corners and demented lovers spill themselves across the lyrical landscape, bringing sharp edges to seemingly straightforward pop songs. Standout tracks include the melodramatic “Cyanide Tooth,” which sounds like collaboration between Douglas Sirk and The Hidden Cameras, and “14 Candles,” a hushed and trembling whisper of a song brought to life by guest vocalist Rachel Smith. All told, an interesting and quirky recording by a remarkable singer – perfect for those in the throes of romantic obsession.
Karyn Bonham, Broken Pencil
My first reaction upon hearing Jonathan Seet’s new album was to reflect on how “un-Canadian” his music sounds. While fellow Toronto musicians like Royal City and their Three-Gut compatriots have been hogging all the press with their lo-fi, intimate sounds, Seet has approached things from the opposite direction. His newest release, Arousal Disasters, is a lush and cinematic album filled with perfectly-formed pop symphonies. Far from a new face on the music scene, Seet has already garnered glowing reviews with his first album Melatonin, released in 2000. Seet’s voice soars to almost operatic levels, and often seems to float above his carefully crafted mid-tempo acoustic guitar and piano backdrops. His music brings to mind the best of British pop from the past few decades, and easy comparisons to artists like James and Travis abound. Many of his songs retain something of an 80s sensibility — not the “retro” novelty hits of that decade, but the kind of timeless, sophisticated pop that is in short supply these days. Seet especially shines on tracks like “Smoke,” where his voice is accompanied by only jazzy cymbals and a mellow baseline that leaves the song feeling almost a cappella. His lyrics are on par with his voice, which is as poetic and unabashedly emotional as his music, and occasionally clever as well. “You can’t complain you’re outclassed / when you’re drinking from a dirty glass,” he sings on “Dirty Glass,” a slow-building number that comes complete with a wonderful radio-ready chorus. Seet gives vocal duties to fellow Toronto artist Rachel Smith on the Bjork-like “14 Candles,” which shines as brightly as the rest of the songs on the album. A handful of other Toronto musicians also contributed to the disc. As an indie release, Arousal Disasters stands head and shoulders above most major-label albums. In an industry too often filled with misdirected hype, Seet is genuinely worthy of the heaping praise he’s received to date. Arousal Disasters should only serve to propel him farther into the spotlight. Original Link
Gary Smith, UmbrellaMusic.com
(Rated 4/5): Something about the unsettlingly creepy cabaret pop on Arousal Disasters, Jonathan Seet’s second disc, evokes Barbara Gowdy’s necrophilia love story We So Seldom Look On Love — all dripping wet and darkly gorgeous. Think luxuriant synth-orchestral pop ballads that are, paradoxically, both massive and claustrophobic in scope. Think Nick Cave, but not as tough, or Sarah Slean if she’d grown up listening to New Order. Seet’s voice is a breathy choirboy warble that sends him clambering to stand beside folks like Thom Yorke and Chris Martin, but there’s a more sinister edge. Seet sounds like the type who’d jump you in a back alley, but he’d only want to read you goth poetry.
Sarah Liss, Now Magazine
Indie Album of the Month – Seet is a Toronto-based singer/songwriter who previously turned heads with the release of his debut CD, Melatonin. He later composed what he calls “audio wallpaper” for an art exhibition entitled Vesuvius at a Toronto art gallery and scored a BravoFACT!-funded film called The School, which will be released this year. Now Seet is back with Arousal Disasters, his first album from No-distributed Aporia Records. He performed, produced and mixed most of the album himself, and the result is a layered, dense album, much of which sounds like the score of soundtrack to a film that hasn’t been made. A Bientot opens the album and is a largely instrumental, atmospheric number with a trip-hop beat. On ballads like Cyanide Tooth and the bittersweet Smoke, Seet’s echoey vocals sound very similar to Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, and much of the album has a very British sound to it. Track like Dirty Glass and the slower Light The Sky are good examples of accessible guitar-pop, while Echo is a dreamy space-pop ballad. Arousal Disasters is a gorgeous, ethereal pop album, and one of the first truly notable releases of the year.
Justin Anderson, Indie Update, Canadian Music Network
While it’s hard not to avoid Thom Yorke comparisions, Jonathan Seet is a Canadian that possesses quite a beautiful and unique voice. Arousal Disasters is his sophomore album, following his debut, Melatonin. This album has almost a cinematic feel to it and the production is lush and not overpowering. Sometimes when a singer is as strong as Seet, the producer tends to push it on top of the mix. On Arousal Disasters, it’s subdued a bit and blends in very nicely with the rest of the instrumentation. “Nasty Little Boys” is a great example of this technique. Female vocalist, Rachel Smith helps out on a few tracks and the best of these is “14 Candles” where she almost gets a Bjork sound to her voice happening. Give Arousal Disasters a couple of spins and you will fall in love with its ethereal qualities and its sheer beauty. Jonathan Seet has a diverse sound that changes with each song. With the right press on board, Seet should be able to become a very recognize figure in Canadian independent music.
(Rated 3.5/5): Local boy Seet showed allegiance to the Buckley/Yorke school of ethereal rock warbling on his debut, but he now seems more inspired by folks closer to home. His follow-up, Arousal Disasters, shares the same romantic, fanciful style as recordings by Hawksley Workman and Sarah Slean. Piano, guitar, strings and no-frills beats accompany Seet’s tales of obsessive encounters and sexual frustration, some ballads and some full-blown pop. Sometimes you get Moulin Rouge-esque cabaret chaos, but mostly it’s just creepy, what with the dead girls in lakes, vomit-soaked alleys and one too many euphemisms for female genitalia. Seet’s young voice still registers in the dramatic troubadour range, but he doesn’t sound desperate or dirty enough. Still, it’s an ambitious sophomore effort that mostly works. Perhaps a smoky club setting will amplify the arousal factor and turn this strong material into a passion play.
Liisa Ladouceur, Eye Magazine
It’s fitting that Toronto singer/songwriter Jonathan Seet is officially unveiling his second album with a Valentine’s Day set tomorrow at the Rivoli. Arousal Disasters, while tilting more toward lust than love, is sticky with primal appetite. “Cover me with you [sp] chocolate eyes so sweet,” he sings on “Cover Me.” Another song, “Smoke,” begins “She moves like warm molasses, drips sweetness your chin is covered/Can’t get her taste out of your mouth.” It gets a bit much at times. “I drained myself into your jet fuel tank/But it might as well have been a snow bank” does not improve with consideration. But the arrangements, ranging from simple acoustic guitar to sonic effects, are frequently captivating.
Vit Wagner, Toronto Star
(Rated 3.5/5): The songs on this album are well balanced and well recorded. Seet was the main vocalist for much of the album but tastefully broke it up with the use of two female vocalists on various tracks. This is not to say he has a bad voice, he has a good singing voice but it is nothing spectacular. Women can always sing better than men and this album proves that again. Some interesting vocal recording techniques were used here (at least I haven’t heard them) but the vocals weren’t manipulated electronically. At one point it sounds like Seet was singing in a box (he may have been), and other times I thought I could hear the space where the vocals were recorded. This didn’t really produce an echo as much as add depth to the song. I thought it was cool. All the instruments on the album were played quite well and production is top notch. I found some of the tracks moved too slowly and I was waiting for them to get to the point. All in all this is a solid album and a live club performance would be quite interesting for those who appreciate the singer/songwriter genre.
“It’s rare to find an artist who offers up such an assured debut as Toronto singer/songwriter Jonathan Seet has…Melatonin bodes well for a number of reasons…he’s a solid songwriter …there’s a distinctly British dramatic flair to much of this…but this is three steps farther than many get in four albums…”
James Keast, Exclaim! Magazine
“…you don’t have to devote your ears only to England to hear some really fine Voice Rock. Perhaps the best exponent on the local scene in Toronto is Jonathan Seet, who has a compelling new CD out, called Melatonin,…[showcasing] his striking songs, through which he pours his astonishingly beautiful voice.” Original Link (Google Cached)
Howard Druckman, UmbrellaMusic.com
“……intriguing songwriter…raw, unbridled vocals…potent songs…an ear for a good hook…”
Ron Rogers, RPM Magazine
“…these songs are incredibly catchy as well as solid, and the fact that it’s an independent recording should make this artist proud…”
Paul Gangadeen, Chart Magazine
Rating:**** “…his emotionally charged songs build an enjoyable tension with graceful spacey guitar…the lilting beauty of “Evergreen” and closer “Heart Attack” show Seet mastering both the folkie singer/songwriter and romantic Englishman roles, and are reason enough… ”
Liisa Ladouceur, Eye Magazine
“i can’t help it. i’m a song slut. i love well-crafted tunes. and this album satisfies my pop-with-brains fix for the year. Jonathan has a gorgeous voice and he isn’t afraid to let it be vulnerable. i like that in a man… words to crawl into, infectious melodies. an excellent debut. i want more…”
“…a nice sounding disc to soothe your ears…”
Vikas Sharma, Spill Magazine
“I’m sitting with Jonathan Seet, one of Toronto’s great unsung songsmiths, in an unpopular café at the nexus of Bloor West and Roncesvalles. The tall guy with the dark hair and matinee-idol looks is a gifted conversationalist. We’ve already run through a number of topics, from romance to the business practices of Bill Gates, from Seet’s days writing code for Disney (he still freelances as a Web programmer) to the books of Cory Doctorow and Neal Stephenson.” – Read more