by Tim Birkbeck
Music has the wonderful ability to transport its listener to a different world. Whether that be a different time period, or place, or even a significant moment in one’s life – music can bring that moment vividly to the forefront.
Within seconds of Sea Pinks latest offering of guitar led dream pop, you’ll see conjured images of Californian beaches in the 60s/70s, while feeling like you’re driving along coastal roads in a convertible.
In reality the three-piece from Belfast are a long way away from the sunny beaches of California, but each song on new album, Watercourse, is wrapped with effervescent choruses, buoyant drums and a distinctive woozy guitar style, all with a hint of a mischievous sense of humour.
From the opening title track of the record, ‘Watercourse’, you’ll be tapping your foot along to the rhythm of the drums, and after a few minutes will have you humming along to the catchiness of the choruses – a theme which runs throughout the whole album.
Despite clocking in at just over 30 minutes there is a clear split in the record, starting off with the familiar dream pop sound Sea Pinks have crafted in the seven years of being a band. However, as soon as you reach ‘How Long Must I Be Denied’ the album takes on a rockier tone, with a bit more of a punk edge. Tracks like ‘Playing For Pride’ and ‘Shock of the New’, in particular, have a heavily distorted guitar tone, compared to the jangling twinkle fans are more accustomed to. It’s something the trio of Neil Brogan (guitar/vocals), Steven Henry (bass) and Davey Agnew (drums) haven’t necessarily clearly displayed in their previously releases.
This isn’t to say that the signature guitar isn’t still present in the record. In ‘Gonealong’ and ‘Water Spirit’ it is the guitar which is the real driving force of the track.
In half-an-hour Sea Pinks cover a whole range of topics and emotions, from vibrant optimism to reflective uncertainty. And despite Watercourse being the band’s sixth studio album, the Belfast trio show that they are still capable of mixing it up and keeping it fresh.
Watercourse is out now via CF Records.