Isolate and Medicate
The Bicycle Music Group

After releasing a ‘Best of/Greatest Hits’ type album late last year, Seether are back with a new label and a more stripped down sound on their latest offering, Isolate and Medicate. The band’s second record with producer Brendan O’Brien (Pearl Jam, The Fray, Gaslight Anthem) back in the producers chair, the band is back to being a 3-piece unit with a decidedly low-fi sound and a disc of more up-tempo tunes that just may appeal to the new hipster and indie rock demographic.

Eschewing the clean/dirty aesthetic, “See You at the Bottom” kicks the album off on a high note while still staying true to the bands core sound with a bit of Alice In Chains inspired flavor in the chorus. Longtime fans will love the more metallic “Suffer It All,” and “Keep the Dogs at Bay” which recall a vibe more akin to the bands sophomore effort, Karma and Effect.

In the past Seether has taken a lot of flak for being a Nirvana-wannbe band, but with Isolate and Medicate that seems to be missing, instead they almost directly rip off from other famous acts. On “Same Damn Life” the tunes upbeat guitar riff is directly copied from the vocal melody of the Peggy March classic “I Will Follow Him,” while the chorus of “Nobody Praying for Me” strongly resembles “Drift Away” by Dobie Gray. The discs’ first single, “Words as Weapons” is almost instantly recognizable in its verses for mimicking from either Miley Cyrus’ hit “Wrecking Ball,” or the song she copied, Gary Jules “Mad World;” you decide.

On the their last full-length, 2011’s Holding onto Strings Better Left to Fray, Seether displayed hints of this albums direction on that albums weaker cuts. Not to say that there is anything wrong with experimenting with new sounds or branching out, but much of the actual Seether sound – the heaviness and catchy stick in your head choruses and overall tone really is very much lacking here. This is especially noteworthy on tracks such as the bland “Crash,” “Watch Me Drown” and disc closer “Save Today.” The quirky “Words as Weapons” can be forgiven as the band has a history of releasing first singles that are very unrepresentative of the album as a whole. I will however note that the howls that contrast with the line, “lead to me to wolves” was very clever of vocalist Shaun Morgan.

Music fans in general tend to be a fickle bunch and no matter how big a band may get, they can’t forget where there bread is buttered and just have faith that fans will purchase an album and listen to it enough for it to ‘grow on them.’  Hopefully Isolate and Medicate is just Seether’s experimental indie rock album and not truly the direction that they will further delve into. –Matthew Pashalian

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