Album of the month (March)…
(5 / 5)
London-based indie pop guitar band Sea Girls were Music Republic Magazine’s “Best Live Act” of 2021, and our choice of “Best Band”, in our end of year round-up for last year. Deservedly so, on both counts.
We raved about them in our “Live Zone” when we caught their show in Birmingham in October last year, on their third time lucky, twice postponed UK tour due to Covid issues.
Their belting debut album, “2020’s, “Open Up Your Head”, blasted into the UK album chart at #3. Their new one will do even better. You can quote me! They have built up a huge fan-base globally from their debut album, four EP’s and a slew of singles.
That new album, “Hometown” is released tomorrow (Friday 18th March 2022) and is more of the same as last time: in as much as it is a balanced, rousing (but with measured light and shade), punch-packed effort, which showcases superb song writing and powerful, super tight performances. Both albums are a triumphant stepping stone to future huge assured international success.
Opener, title track “Hometown” I remember from when the band premiered it on their UK tour last Autumn. Dare I say it; this is as near as we are gonna get to a 21st century indie pop version of U2; same power, attitude and energy as that mega Irish band. Brilliant song writing. Fab start to the 11-track set (13 for the Deluxe edition).
Second track, “Sick”, a 2021 single and another song they aired on the last tour, and which made impact when I heard it live. A chugging mid-tempo slow burner, in contrast to the rambunctious and raucous feel of the opener.
Love the lyrical content of “Sick” – “I’m sick of your friends, they’re all f***ing boring….I’m sick of the Beatles….” Main songwriter/singer Henry’s rant about all the things that pee him off.
“Lonely” has that Spaghetti Western feel with the intro’. An acoustic-centric indie cut, that showcases another side to the band.
Lonely” was written the day Ennio Morricone died, so it was initially in honour of him, a nod to the movie, “The Good, The Bad And The Ugly” – with the inclusion of an eerie whistle and the line,”OK Corral.” Henry wrote it about, “the best friend I probably should have gone out with, but never did”.
All three tracks offer emotionally connected vocals from Henry, and tight as a duck’s bum hole backing. All three tracks have been issued as singles.
Henry Camamile on lead vocals and guitar, Rory Young on lead guitar, Andrew Dawson on bass and Oli Khan on drums formed Sea Girls in London in 2015. The lads hail from Leicestershire, Kent and Lincolnshire, and met in High School.
“Someone’s Daughter, Someone’s Son”, has a grunged-up, almost skater boy vibe. “Sleeping With You” slings an electro flavour into the mix. “Paracetamol Blues” moves them back towards the guitar band sound they do so well.
They have a knack of nailing that anthemic, festival, arms in the air sing-along sound that can put an instant smile on your boat-race, and should cheer up even the shittiest day.
The aforementioned U2, Coldplay and Sea Girls have something in common. Yes, they are all bands. They have guitars and are all-male affairs. That is a given…I mean; they can nail a hook at 20 paces. They know how to craft songs with earworm choruses and there is no fat or dead wood in their arrangements.
Zero fillers among the Baker’s dozen on offer on “Hometown”. It’s a bloody superb album and will go Top 10 for sure. In fact; when I wrote the review of their live show in Birmingham last October, I went on record to say they could well have a # 1 record on the next album. I stand by that comment.
“Again Again” has that Chris Martin ‘Midas touch’ to it, as does the powerful “Lucky”. “Higher” will surely become a future live staple. “Lucky” has a particular lyrical pertinence right now, with the current horrors in Ukraine: “Sometimes people grow up in war, not knowing what the adults are fighting for”. Amen to that….
Penultimate track, “Cute Guys” calms things down with a rippling acoustic guitar and laid-back vocal with some ethereal falsetto to add value. A tad like The Cure maybe?
I do like with this band, even with the softer, more restrained, sparser songs and production, the energy levels never dip. That said, at 2.32 of this 4.05 track, they switch it up with some Beatles-esque/The Jam-esque heavier electric guitars/groove.
“Friends”, like a few of the tracks here, drops the F-bomb a bit, on the final cut of the 11-track album, peppered with slide guitar licks. There are two more tracks on the Deluxe version of the album, “Watch Your Step” and “I Got You”, neither of which I was given access to for this pre-release review.
Henry was in lockdown at his childhood home in Lincolnshire when he wrote the bulk of this album; a cathartic exercise airing episodes, good and bad, from his life to that date.
The recording and production process was a different, more complex ball game, amid the Covid issues. The band were in their own lockdown bubble in a Brixton studio in London, with their co-producers an ocean away in California.
Via the joys of modern technology, the band worked with their regular producer Larry Hibbitt, Grammy-winning producers Jacknife Lee, Jonny Coffer and Cass Lowe to co-produce the record.
The boys will back on the road in May for indie record store appearances, before their biggest headline shows to date with “The Hometown Tour”, kicking off mid-November, including a biggie at London’s iconic Alexandra Palace. They also have a few festivals to keep them busy in the summer, including the Isle Of Wight Festival and Kendal Calling in Cumbria.
Methinks they may well have the service of thousands of word-perfect backing singers, who know every word of most of the songs on their brace of albums at those summer appearances and their November tour! I may be one of ’em!
- Check out our review and pix from Sea Girls’ blistering gig in Birmingham last October, here: https://musicrepublicmagazine.com/2021/10/sea-girls-coach-party-02-institute-birmingham-11th-october-2021/
- STOP PRESS: The new album blasted straight into the official UK album chart @ # 3 today (25th March 2022)….
By Steve Best
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’