The Metedeconk River in Ocean and Monmouth Counties is a tributary of Barnegat Bay that flows through the Pine Barrens. It meanders through many towns and plays host to a wide range of wildlife, some endangered. It is appropriate that Asbury Park indie-folk band Accidental Seabirds have named their third studio album Metedeconk as, like the river, the brilliant album winds its way through a myriad of genres but never veers too far off its focused path. The band is having a record release show at the Stone Pony on Friday, May 13th.
The album opens with the short “Circumambulation” featuring some tuning and snippets of talking before segueing into “Roadkill & Remorse.” The song has a downright funky start before vocalist/guitarist Jesse Lee Herdman’s familiar voice breaks in. The tune also has flourishes of jazz and soul. It ends with a heavy, fuzz laden jam. As usual on an Accidental Seabirds record, the band can effortlessly switch genre as with “Constellations” which takes on a bluesy feel with plaintive guitars and vocals. “Paint By Number” is a lighter song which is a welcome change of pace from the earlier songs. The amazingly light guitar finger picking is both warm and playful. The song reminded me of bit of Fleet Foxes, another band that could craft deceptively simple and lovely songs like this.
It is no surprise that “Black Horse Blues” has been a live staple for the band for a while now. It is an amazing song and a clear highlight here. With gorgeous slide guitar and banjo giving the song a touch of country without losing its indie-folk feel the song is a delight. The song references the Black Horse and White Horse Pikes that stretch from Camden to Atlantic City. Choose your route carefully as the outcome will “see who gets there alive.”
“Post-Apocalyptic Ghost Story” is a great mid-tempo number that allows Herdman to stretch his already impressive vocal range at times reaching higher peaks with some spirited crooning. The steady, pulsing guitar drives the song. At just under eight and a half minutes closer “Go On Blues” is a slow burning jam inviting you to “go home and stoke that fire.” As with many blues songs regret is on the menu as the singer asked “Whydja have to open that door?”
The album seems to end too soon and leaves the listener craving more. Much more. Herdman and percussionist Alex Letizia have a knack of making one feel like they have invited you in for your own private listening experience. As if they are performing right there in your living room. It is not easy to create indie-folk that sounds as fresh as the Accidental Seabirds have managed to do here. I cannot recommend this album highly enough.
The band will play with their full live line-up including guitarist Jimmy James Cutrera and bassist Anthony Defabritus on Friday. Joining the Seabirds are Thomas Wesley Stern, Emily Grove Band, Beatrix Potter, and The Big Drops.
Photos of Accidental Seabirds by Lauren Gorski.
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