The Friday Feeling is upon us once more, and today we have a short but extremely sweet pairing for you. Here for your enjoyment is the Seimei EP by Japanese screamo stalwarts envy and a glass of Barrelstone 2020 Pinot Noir to go alongside.
The Tunes – envy’s Seimei EP
On a recent podcast recording episode, we touched once again on the topic of so-called ‘legacy acts’ and how exactly one approaches the later releases of bands that have been around for multiple decades. Japan’s envy are a classic example, having been setting the bar higher and higher for screamo for nearly three decades now across classic releases like All the Footprints You’ve Ever Left… and A Dead Sinking Story. After the band’s near break up and reformation complete with new blood added to the lineup, envy have been going through something of a renaissance, with 2020’s The Fallen Crimson showcasing new dynamics in the band’s already expansive musical palate. Seimei, the band’s follow-up and first for Pelagic Records, continues their upward trajectory. Opening up with the EP’s title track, the first thing you’ll notice is that the mix on Seimei is much heavier than before; I’m not sure if this is an intentional choice owing to the album being released on a predominantly metal label, but either way the sonic choice works. The thick, crashing chords that form the basis of the song give added weight to the crescendo that builds to its explosive release. Following this, “Zanshin” switches to a more upbeat, bouncy rhythm to compliment vocalist Tetsu Fukugawa’s trademark spoken-word delivery, again showing the masterful way envy play their varying stylistic elements against each other to manipulate tension. Closer “Tamayura” is a mostly ambient affair, leaning into post-rock and again featuring Fukugawa’s spoken word poetry. Seimei is an album that interestingly ramps itself down in intensity as it goes on where other bands might choose the opposite path but going against the grain has always been what has made envy one of the greatest bands to ever walk the face of this earth, and I couldn’t be happier they are still around to show us all how it’s done.
The Booze: Barrelstone’s 2020 Pinot Noir
It’s Wine Time (TM, Patent Pending) on this column again, and this round features a California pinot noir from Barrelstone. This young vintage is light and delicate on the palate, with barely any harshness on the finish even before letting it open up. Tart strawberry is the dominant note here, which feels very fitting given the state of origin of this wine (Camarillo strawberries are the only ones I’ll eat because no one else seems to appreciate a tart strawberry; fruit rant over, I promise). The body is described as ‘medium’ on the bottle, but this is incredibly light and refreshing. I like this wine quite a bit, and I think I would like it even more if I was drinking this on a warm summer evening instead of a chilly November night. I’ll file that one away for later.
Cheers, and be good to each other,