In the press materials for the thoroughly turgid Holding Onto Strings Better Left To Fray—that title only hints at the tedium to come—singer-songwriter Shaun Morgan of South African moan-rock trio Seether muses that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” If that’s the case, then Seether has dibs on being the craziest band in the hauntingly barren, fallow sphere of modern rock. A mainstay on the worst radio station in your town for the past decade, Seether tweaks its sound only the slightest bit on Fray, refraining from dry-humping the decomposed corpse of grunge just long enough to take a half-assed stab at contemporary country on “Country Song.” Actually, “Country Song” is a bit of a misnomer, since this utterly witless, lumbering track sounds like every other Seether song, with only a trace of twang in Morgan’s usual guttural throat gymnastics.
Time and again, on songs like “Fur Cue” and the self-explanatory “Down,” Morgan directs his pained lameness at an anonymous “you” that’s constantly keeping him down. He’s presumably addressing his addiction (Morgan checked into rehab in 2006), but “you” also represents the bitchy partner who just won’t get off your case already. (It’s similar to Christian rock, only the doubletalk applies to drugs and dysfunctional relationships instead of God and love.) It’s possible even Seether is bored by all this by now: “I’m sick of complaining about a beautiful life,” Morgan sings on “Tonight.” If only he knew the torture of listening to that complaining.