My love for Sea Pinks originally began when I discovered that the drummer of Girls Names, Neil, had started the group. My thoughts were that it would have the same dark jangle rock sound, and I guess the first LP, Dead Seas, does have a bit of that. But, it didn’t prepare me for the incredible Freak Waves album that I cannot stop playing no matter where I go.
“Lake Superior” beings Freak Waves off with a nice jangling bounce, even including a bit of monosyllabic doo wop moments in the background. It’s catchy, and it definitely sets the tone for the rest of the album. That attitude is stepped up almost immediately with “A Pattern Recognition.” The vocals begin in step with the songs underlying groove, with a light guitar wavering in the background. My highlight though is the vocal delivery during the chorus, just changing the heavier verse into a hint of warming pop as guitars pick up and dance away. It’s perfectly juxtaposed to the psych-pop elements of “False Spring,” which sounds like one of the long-lost Fresh & Onlys tunes.
Then you’re introduced to my favorite moments on this latest Sea Pinks release. It all begins with the refreshing “You’re Not Happy,” which is a song that lyrically I think a lot of us can relate to, not being able to completely make a loved one happy. I’m just in love with how the vocals are delivered in contrast to the heavy drum beat in the background. I’ve probably played this track 40 times in the last two days. Then it moves into the slowly unfolding “An Act of Treason;” the song begins rather slowly with a twinkling guitar line off in the distance, yet its beauty is truly reached when the chorus of “I can make you cry” is repeated. There’s something about the change in the vocal inflection that is so affecting and addictive that I can’t get it out of my head, nor do I want to do so.
Even though the middle of the record has the meat and potatoes of pop brilliance, I can’t sit here and pretend like every song isn’t worthy of your attention. For instance, I’m completely infatuated with “(Out of) The Capital,” which seems to be a reflective look at one’s life moving forward and away from their roots. The refrain “I work out of the capital” has been playing in my mind all day long. The song’s bounce is noteworthy too, but I think once you listen to this track you’ll see that its efforts speak for itself.
Sea Pinks might not be one of the many band’s on many people’s list, at least not yet in the United States, and that’s quite a shame. I haven’t had this much fun listening to a record through and through in a long time, making this review easy to write about. Freak Waves isn’t an ordinary record, and those of you looking for something to appease your jangling pop fix might find this one of the best albums to come your way this year. You know what, who cares about genres, this might just be one of the best things I’ve heard.
Download: Sea Pinks – A Pattern Recognition [MP3]
Freak Waves is out now on CF Records.