This Sea Pinks article was written by Tim Burden, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Michael Liggins.
Named after a species of coastal flower and describing themselves as “inspired by sea glass, bleached grass and ghost guitars”, Sea Pinks very much wear their poetic pretensions on their sleeve. Singer/guitarist Neil Brogan claims that that the title of their newest release ‘Soft Days’ is inspired by the weather in the band’s native Northern Ireland; a soft day is apparently “that very fine almost mist like drizzle that totally soaks you through in five minutes”. Naming your album after the world’s most boring weather type may not seem like the best idea but in this instance it just so happens to be a depressingly accurate description.
The album is 40 minutes of entirely forgettable lo-fi guitar pop. The formula goes as follows: solo guitar intro for a couple of bars, enter drums, cut to unmemorable chorus, repeat ad nauseum, exit stage left. This makes for a passable enough beginning to the album but by the half way mark jangle-fatigue has set in as songs stubbornly refuse to progress in any way, shape or form.
The best track is ‘Ordinary Daze’ which bounces along in an inoffensively summery manner and is sure to be forgotten within 30 seconds of its finish. Other (relative) highlights include lead single ‘Depth of Field’, built around a nice Blondie-esque guitar figure which ultimately goes nowhere, and ‘Cold Reading’ which is at the very least memorable, albeit for its dodgy opening line “the hawthorne smells like come, only sweeter, I can taste it on her tongue”. Make of that what you will.
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No other tracks on ‘Soft Days’ really do anything to hold the listener’s attention. ‘Trend When You’re Dead’ totally fails to live up to the quality of its title whilst ‘Green With Envy’, ‘Everything in Sight’ and the title track sound so similar to each other that if they were turned into one big mash-up you’d probably not notice.
In terms of the album’s overall sound, it is a mish-mash of 60s surf rock influences, 80s guitar indie and faux poetic lyricism; imagine a Morrissey-fronted incarnation of Blondie crossed with The Go-Betweens but with no discernible edge whatsoever. It is this lack of edge that is ultimately indicative of the problem with the entire album. It is not that every song on offer here is bad, the problem rather is that every song is so perfectly ordinary. There is no sense of any kind of musical risk being taken, no attempt to force any song away from the mean, instead settling for 11 tracks of flat, paint by numbers indie.
If you want beige, inoffensive, slightly pretentious guitar pop to be your sound of 2016 then look no further than ‘Soft Days.’ For those who prefer their music with at least a semblance of risk and originality, you’d do better to look elsewhere.
‘Soft Days’ is out on the 8th January 2016 via CF Records.