Sea Girls rock the boat with waves of mosh pit-worthy anthems.
By Tom Farmer
Sea Girls was a name ubiquitous on this year’s festival line up posters. It seemed as though they were playing on every festival stage across the country. Therefore, when coronavirus hit the UK and all live music cancelled, the London-based band would have found themselves with more time on their hands than they might have expected. There was, then, no better time to fine-tune and release the band’s debut record “Open Your Head”.
Based in London, the four-piece have enjoyed a consistent rise to one of the emerging hot shots of indie music. Nominated for BBC’s prestigious Sound Of awards, with past winners including Adele and Michael Kiwanuka, the band have been a regular on the festival circuit. Gradually gaining slots on bigger stages as well as supporting Foals on their UK tour, Sea Girls signed with Polydor in 2019. A year later, they have a sold-out headline show at the Brixton Academy scheduled and a debut record released.
The record itself is highly listenable. Melancholy yet not necessarily downbeat, the album is perhaps the perfect cure for the Corona blues which have swept the music world. With a combination of hook-centric, anthemic tracks (which is a good thing and a bad thing) and more reflective tracks, Sea Girls intermingle emotions of tragedy and excitement in one accessible and vastly enjoyable record. The record, as the title “Open Your Head” reflects, is deeply personal. The second track “All I Want To Hear You Say”, which was also the leading single of the record, is charmingly intimate and emotional. Yet, like the rest of the album, the track is uplifted by a build-up and a cathartic beat drop.
Perhaps unsurprisingly given their reputation as a strong live band, the album conjures up strong festival vibes. You can almost taste the 8 quid ciders, smell the pungent whiff of rolled-up cigarettes and feel the dehydration beginning to set in. The album, too, is perhaps the definition of indie pop: At some points, the record sounds like a Catfish and the Bottlemen track, but at other points it sounds like Radio One. This is certainly not a bad thing, given the success that bands such as Blossoms have had through bridging the gap between indie and mainstream. As well as indie pop, the record has a strong dance rock feel. In tracks like “Weight in Gold”, I was almost expecting a full, Calvin Harris-style bass drop. Alas, it did not come.
Despite the album’s obvious plaudits, it does drag a bit. The total running time of the record is almost 50 minutes which, as Matty Healy consistently proves with The 1975’s records, is too long. This is also compounded by the fact that the last three tracks of the album sound identical, or at least very similar to other tracks on the record. There is a disappointing lack of variety in the record, which is perhaps understandable when releasing a “safe” debut record, but frustrating nonetheless.
Aside from the lack of variety, the album is very enjoyable and perfectly tolerable. The purpose of a debut record is to turn agnostics into believers, which Sea Girls have certainly done in my case. The record may not win any awards or achieve any Number Ones, but I would now go and see them if they were playing at a festival, which would have to be seen as a positive. ***1/2