Thursday, January 7, 2016

Sea Pinks - Soft Days

On their new album, Soft Days, Belfast's Sea Pinks reveals themselves to be adept musical chemists.  Over 11 tracks they weave '80s post punk indie rock, C86 dream pop, '70s power pop, and a bit of California coastal jangle and surf into a very satisfying set of songs that manage to convey energy and excitement without any jagged edges.  The guitars are varied and confident, bass insistent and intriguing, and drums satisfyingly high in the mix.  Frontman Neil Brogan's vocals are his best work so far for this project.  The production is clear and unfussy.

Opener "(I Don't Feel Like) Giving In" kicks off with a dose of post-punk drone, but sunshine and bounce take over with the following "Ordinary Daze" and "Cold Reading".  After a more post punk offering with "Trend When You're Dead", "Green With Envy" -- and standouts "Depth of Field" and "Everything In Sight" -- deliver hazy dream pop.  If you were only to own one song on this album, I'd nominate "Yr Horoscope" (stream below), which is custom built for the speakers on your convertible as you head down the Pacific Coast Highway.  "Down Dog" is dark-jangling post punk with dark shading and big drums.  The wistful and optimistic "I Won't Let Go" and "Soft Days" end the album with jangling pop perfection.

The album title refers to the kind of soaking mist that one encounters in Belfast.  The choice seems apt, as the songs envelope the listener and soak into the brain's pleasure centers.  One listen and it seems like an old and honored friend.  I couldn't have picked a better record for my first review of a 2016 album

Sea Pinks is frontman Neil Brogan (Cruising and ex-Girls Names) on guitar and vocals, Steven Henry on bass and Davey Agnew on drums.  Soft Days is out tomorrow, January 8, via CF Records.

Bandcamp for Soft Days
CF Records

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