ON THE RECORD
By Sea Girls
On first listen of the first track, Hometown, we were initially sold. After days of listening to mediocre new offerings, we were happy to find something we could actually recommend to you. How much of that is down to the very retro-ness (is that even a word?) of Sea Girls’ offering, we’re not sure but we were definitely listening with empathy, if not sympathy.
Lead vocalist and songwriter, Henry Camamile, is a self-confessed exhibitionist when it comes to laying his feeling out front and centre. And there is something to be said for the teen/early 20s angst of songs that drag the listener, regardless of age, back to their youth – let’s face it, we’ve all dealt with the insecurities and disappointment of unsuccessful romantic encounters.
The first move away from home is something no-one ever forgets – excitedly playing adult while inside feeling like a defenceless, momentarily abandoned, child. A feeling captured perfectly on Sick with it’s poignant lyric “I don’t want to grow up” and slick inclusion of 90s advertising slogans that immediately summon youthful memories and smiles from a generation Camamile is too young to be part of.
Overall, the album seems to be an homage to youth with definite vocal influences from Brandon Flowers and even Julian Cope, in terms of attitude and delivery. Fave tracks from us are Sleeping With You (and mentally cheating) and Paracetamol Blues. Each is thoughtful and thoughtprovoking. However, there’s also loads of self-indulgence here that’s not overly attractive.
This is the sixth album release from the Brooklyn-based band and after 12 years of making music, it’s a joy to find that they still sound as fresh as ever. Vocals from Molly Hamilton offer a dreamlike quality throughout, you could almost float away on the delicate thoughtful sounds, but you really do need to listen to the lyrics too, to discover that all is not as it seems.
At times you could be forgiven for thinking you’d tuned into something from The Peasant, the 2016 album from Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions. And indeed, on Unwind Molly’s voice takes on a less whimsical quality, deeper and with a welcome rich timbre which, together with the Gangsters Paradise-style opening, makes this track a favourite.
Other standouts include Salt and True Blue. Neither is currently easily accessed in this part of the world, so we had to do a bit of digging. Bit, it was definitely worth it. The, now familiar, twinkling score draws deep from that oh-so wistful voice telling stories of love, loss and memory. Sad words entwined with happy sounds which make the sentiments even more melancholy.
Our absolute favourite track is Slow Dance, a very pretty love song – again with lyrics that hint at what lies beneath.
Though the messages are sometimes hidden, Widowspeak have succeeded in delivering another cerebral masterpiece that sounds just like easy listening.