Seela Something Happened (newimprovedmusic)
Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., Dec. 3, 1999
Something Happened (newimprovedmusic)At this point, it's clear that one of this decade's defining musical characteristics was the clarion call of strong female voices: Joan, Alanis, Sheryl, Shirley, Sarah, Lucinda, Cassandra, Loreena, Fiona, Tori, Erykah, Lauryn, MeShell. The list goes on and on. Locally, in the last few years, a relative number of the same have defined Austin's cloistered music scene: Ana, Abra, Amy, Sara, Kacy, Terri, Trish -- Lucinda. Add Seela to that latter list. Something Happened, her second full-length, has been at least several years in the making and indeed, something has happened to the local singer-songwriter -- she's found a sound: stark, ofttimes sexy, confrontationally passive-aggressive, and as sequenced, somewhat jagged. She's also found herself marvelous local talent. Craig Ross' distorted guitar peels some wallpaper on the sharp-edged clang of "Angel," the wunderkind producer reprising the role for the following song, "Peace of Mind," on which he squares off against Seela's husband, drummer Brannen Temple. Guitarist Darwin Smith does yeoman's work throughout, particularly on "Open Heart," and the album's centerpiece, "Hurricane," while former local bassist Edwin Livingston takes his upright bass a-walkin'. Unfortunately, the head lady has not found quite enough songs to fill 56 minutes, the album's mid-section -- "Collided," "Good Parts," "Seed" -- being rather flabby. Also telling is that Something Happened turns out to be more sonically compelling than lyrically driven. Would that there were more songs like the ready-for-modern-rock radio "If I'm Wrong," or the terrifically catchy "Belly." When Seela shores up the songwriting part of the equation, something really will have happened.