Seek and ye shall find

It isn't often that Starbucks' homogenizing environment can be complemented. But sitting in Little Five Points' corporate coffee branch, Freddy Luster of six-member modern soul collective Seek is perked up by more than caffeine. He's picked up on the background music.

"D'Angelo was just on, now it's the Doors. They're from two different backgrounds, but both get you bobbing. We're nothing like Starbucks, but we offer universal melodies for those seeking a little more substance," Luster says, smiling at the name play.

Since releasing Surrender in fall 2002, Seek toured Japan before convening to capture the group's stage dynamic in the studio. The result is Journey Into Day, an energetic album, not retro per se, but showcasing tight live chops, retaining a musicality missing in much Über-produced R&B.

We saw from playing that whether up or downtempo, our sound lifts you up," Luster says. "Journey is about that: how, in a day, you can think about and approach love, life ... finding resolution and moving on."

Following the example of Norah Jones, John Mayer and Northeastern jam/fusion instrumentalists Soulive — artists whose albums had long shelf lives without what Luster sees as ridiculously exorbitant marketing budgets — Seek has moved on from the idea of major labels. Rather, they've self-defined a box in and from which to develop independently.

"We're not here to unite the world," Luster says, "but we can help people escape reality for a second — clean the house, shake your ass, want to have sex."

For those seeking soulful music, Seek goes damn well with morning coffee, too. Even Starbucks'.

Seek plays Vinyl Tues., Feb. 17. Call for ticket price.