Soft Days is out via CF Records on 8th January 2016.
Girls Names are one of my favourite bands at this moment in time, so when I heard that ex band member Neil Brogan now makes up one third of Sea Pinks, I knew I’d have to take a listen. It’s a shame that I am first hearing (and reviewing) them on the event of their second full length studio album, because it turns out they’re right up my street.
Second albums are always the hardest; there are so many obstacles and even more questions. Will it compare to their debut? Will it stay true to their sound? It’s make or break territory.
It’s rare that a record’s opening song should be as strong as ‘(I Don’t Feel Like) Giving In’. Such a defiant statement, such a challenge of a lyric: ‘Baby cause it’s over / I don’t feel like giving in to you’. Sometimes when you’re feeling a little bit spiteful you need to listen to a song like this and just really wallow in it. I could listen to this all day… I wonder what that says about me.
There’s something of the Stone Roses about ‘Trend When You’re Dead’ and I’m a sucker for a song that’s both artistically titled and easy to sing along to. ‘Green With Envy’ is another highlight as it is mournful yet it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb amongst the more upbeat tracks. It speaks of real human emotion and yet manages not to get you down as a listener, which is some honest to god talent.
‘Cold Reading’ is the album’s first single, and it does the track list justice. It’s very radio friendly, one for your mum as well as your more discerning friend. ‘Ordinary Daze’ also has this potential – it’s quite classic indie stuff and perhaps not as experimental as some of the other songs but it is fantastically infectious and unforgettable.
So far, so electric. ‘Yr Horoscope’ is just genius, a great beat with great lyrics. Never since Metronomy have I been so excited to hear the words ‘I’m Aquarius’. This song is how Sea Pinks have avoided that indie mentality that takes itself oh so seriously – sometimes it’s necessary to inject some fun into a record. The album closes with ‘Soft Days’, a dreamy and addictive number.
Now I’m not so easy to please when it comes to music, no matter what this glowing review may suggest. I do however feel that an album is worth its weight in gold when the thread holding all the songs together does not detract from each individual song. If every track could be successful as a single, the album has real weight.
The verdict? Soft Days ticks all the tricky second album boxes. Some bands have been known to come into their own at this stage in their career – if they’re really lucky – and this seems to be true of Sea Pinks. Soft Days has instant ‘on repeat’ status for me, with not a weak track to be seen.
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