Seam had never had the most stable lineup, but Sooyoung Park and Lexi Mitchell had maintained a partnership, personal and otherwise, from the Bitch Magnet days. That all changed after the excellent The Problem With Me, and the end result was the band's most fraught album yet, with Park working with a wholly new band and conveying more than a few desperate and frustrated sentiments in the music and lyrics. Starting the album with "Berlitz," using the reference to language guides as a metaphor for failures to communicate and their repercussions, was as much as a sign as any. That said, Park's general goal at balancing sudden intensity with restraint and quiet beauty remained intact, and at times, such as "Haole Redux," succeeded spectacularly. The new members -- guitarist Reg Shrader, bassist William Shin, and drummer Chris Manfrin -- all do a pretty fine job at replacing their counterparts from The Problem With Me, something further helped by the reappearance of Brad Wood as producer. Still, there is a change and maybe even a lack -- Shin in particular, though still spot on, misses the gentle melodicism that Mitchell had provided, and as a result the dramatic melancholia of the past feels a bit more abrupt at points. For the first time as well, Park creates notably long songs, four out of ten running over five minutes and resulting in the longest Seam album yet. It's a comparative lack of economy more than anything else -- this isn't Rick Wakeman-era Yes, thank heavens -- but moments like the extended soloing on "Port of Charleston" make the album just not quite as special as the preceding ones, a drawing out when the group could formerly pack beautifully compact punches. Credit should be given to guest performer Julie Liu, though, whose various vocal and musical contributions are fine, understated touches.
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AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett