‘Status Seeking’ is Labasheeba’s ninth release and their first in the last five years. Filled with adventure and switches in style, it is a record filled to the brim with versatility that anyone with an interest in alternative punk or rock should definitely check out.
At its core, Status Seeking has a punky, alternative rock feel, yet often this core is often overridden by various musical doodles seemingly following dream logic, to take you to somewhere new. It is an album about experimentation, interspersing punk riffs with the wail of a violin in a manner that still feels coherent and whole. Labasheeba have a distinct sound and whilst a huge part of that sound is rooted in variation, the glue of Saska Van Der Gissen’s vocals and the always excellent musicianship of the entire band are a powerful motor to keep the whole thing moving.
As an album, Status Seeking lacks a constant thread and depending on your preference, this will either be its greatest weakness or strength. Jam packed full of ideas as it is, there are times when you wish each punchy song could have lingered more to explore the musical concept to more depth. Yet at the same time, just as that thought forms, it will often be forgotten as the next song kicks in with something new to keep you engaged. A great example of this was the transition from ‘False Flag’ to ‘Crossing Lines’, two of the strongest songs on the album. ‘False Flag’ had really grabbed me, jumping from what was verging on heavy folk driven by violin, to a funky bass line. Running just a notch over three minutes, part of me really would have liked it to go on, but any disappointment was wiped away by ‘Crossing Lines’, which bought back the violin midway through for one of the album's strongest moments.
The Album is full of these stand out moments; the drumming at the start of ‘Uncomfortable Objects’; the drop mid-way through ‘Reunion’ that introduces you to Labasheeba’s heavier side; and perhaps my personal favourite, the first ending to ‘The Adversary’. Whether these moments will frustrate for their brevity or thrill for their deviation will ultimately lie in the listener’s inclination. As such the record must be seen as a success. This was never meant to be an easy,
straightforward listen. It is meant to challenge, it is meant to make you think and want to discuss it. Status Seeking does all of these things whilst always delivering excellent music. Intriguing and beguiling, a fantastic record.
Written By Jimmy Rock