It feels like the year of “folk revival” has come and gone. The fad has faded and the blogs have moved on, and while this sounds like a depressing realization to the artists pouring their passion into it, it’s perfect for Seiichi Daimo, and the best part is he may not even care. The young Japanese-American is a blunt individual with his heart on his sleeve, and it seems in the end, he doesn’t care how or what capacity he’s heard; in the end, he just wants to be heard. Regardless, he will be heard by many; the lanes are all open for him, and his timing couldn’t be more impeccable for his debut appetizer, In The Inbetween.
While In The Inbetween is delicious, it is an appetizer in the end. It almost feels too short, clocking at just over 17 minutes, but that’s all Daimo needs to get his points across. His voice is reminiscent of a bassier Jeff Mangum, and his stringed instrument proficiency is toned down just enough to get that voice across. He blends his banjo runs in with the soft bass undertones perfectly on “Can You Hear Me”, as his dialect twists between a southern drawl and his signature foundation, slurring his words as he declares “Your voice is like poison, and I can’t take another drink.” Almost to the point where you believe the metaphor. His strength is his imagery through arrangement: as standalone lyrics, the songs are tracings, and the music without his voice is just another Mumford And Sons coloring book. Combined, In The Inbetween becomes a Salvador Dali painting.
The best thing about the EP is not the paintings, however, but the promise behind them. Daimo’s choice of such a short release seems strategic, giving subtext of progression behind the safe songs we’re already oh so familiar with. The chorus of “In The Inbetween”, the title track, states “We know the best is yet to come,” as triumphant horns immerse the skeleton Daimo constructs, and he couldn’t be more right. The moments his songs shine the most are in the moments when he maximizes his approach, breaking out of his box in a tasteful manner. He’s given us our appetizer, now it’s time for him to bring on the buffet.
Words by Dustin Harkins