KEVIN RAFN has released four EPs as Seance Crasher over the past three years, but where his previous releases centered on subdued synth-pop, his debut full-length, Basement Behavior, reaches back to ’70s classic rock and psychedelia.
Rafn co-produced the new record with Riley Geare of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, with nearly every track roughly adhering to the same formula: Buzzy waves of synth and sun-drunk guitar riffs struggle for prominence before coalescing into woozy melodies. Opener and album standout “I Even Love You More” executes this choreographed battle to stunning pop-rock effect, though it’s made great by a nostalgic mid-track fakeout and Rafn’s perfectly aligned harmonies with his brother Daniel and Tammy Barnes of Reptaliens.
“Rolling Ron Part 1” sounds like it’s melting into a vibrant kaleidoscope of psych sounds, from fat riffs to low, unintelligible overdubbed vocals that sound like the giant Fezzik in The Princess Bride. These oddly kitschy effects carry over into “Life Is Hard,” with spiraling synth illustrating the lyric “Savin’ time to watch it go down the drain.” “Play the Field” sounds the most like Seance Crasher’s older releases, with a meandering, bluesy beat losing a bit of the record’s focus. It picks up again with “Nothing’s Gonna Change,” a sunny track that centers on the sentiment “Of course, I’m yours/Nothing’s gonna change.”
Things get satisfyingly odd on “Look at My Tattoos”—Rafn repeatedly instructs listeners to “Look at my tattoos/They tell you who I am/They tell you of my past and future/And where I’ll finally land” over the hazy twang of surf riffs and rattling percussion. This weirdness continues into the cosmically surreal “Selling a Canoe at Midnight,” where layers of guitar, synth, and vocals sparkle like loosely connected constellations. Closing track “You Don’t Waste My Time” is moody, with bated stillness between Rafn’s requests, “Baby speak your mind/Speak out loud.
Basement Behavior is unquestionably Seance Crasher’s strongest release to date, largely due to the free rein of boisterous guitar riffs and endearingly oddball production quirks.