Friday morning saw me moping about the house, trying to decide what to do with my day off, and despairing over fact that a sodding dress had managed to break the internet (and completely fuck with my head), when a tweet caught my eye. This was largely because (a) it wasn’t about said dress (which, incidentally, is patently blue and black) and (b) it was publicising decent, free live music in Stirling (a rare occurrence). Courtesy of the excellent Coffee House Sessions, acoustic duo Seafret were playing a midday set at Stirling Uni.
After dashing into town, and narrowly avoiding being run over by a lunatic student in the Uni car park, I schlepped my way into Underground, the Student Union’s basement coffee house, and for the price of a chai latte, got treated to 40 minutes of damn fine new music.
Jack Sedman (vocals) and Harry Draper (guitar) hail from the seaside town of Bridlington. Which is in the North-East… unless you’re in Scotland, in which case it’s ‘sort of South-East’, as Sedman pointed out. Geography lesson aside, the importance of the band’s roots is self-evident; their name taken from the coastal mist or haar that rolls in off the North Sea in that part of the country. In addition, Seafret’s recent relocation to London has given their music just a tinge of melancholic nostalgia for the hometown they’ve left behind.
Punctuated by the occasional hiss of the coffee machine, Seafret meandered through their set, utterly unperturbed by the less than conventional venue and time of day. Friday lunchtime blurred into a haze of chilled out acoustics and folksy melodies, which saw both listeners and band wholly immersed in the music.
New EP ‘Oceans’ (released January 2015) is a lush, regretful tale of a failing (or failed) relationship. Here, thoughts and feelings are half spoken, half left unsaid, as Sedman laments “I wish I was worth… / I know that you deserve…” over Draper’s haunting guitar. Both vocals and melody swell and crash, like waves hitting the shore, before ultimately drifting into silent nothingness.
‘Play with Guns’ beautifully showcased Sedman’s distinctive vocal and impressive range. His voice is unpolished, and with just enough of a rough edge, particularly on the chorus’s soaring high notes, to convey genuine emotion. ‘Give Me Something’ is understated and quite frankly gorgeous, with crafty finger picked strings from Draper complimenting Sedman’s desperately pleading repeated lyrics “Give me something…”.
Despite their youth (and the duo are young enough to make me feel depressingly old) Seafret’s song-writing feels honest and impassioned, yet lacks the post-teen angst and melodrama so often characteristic of new acts. No Catfish and the Bottlemen style tirades for this pair; instead a wistful regret, which I suspect most of the students who were listening won’t fully appreciate for another good few years.