Tuesday, 1 October 2013

THE SEA THE SEA - EP REVIEW

The Sea The Sea - Sub Rosa 
The Sea The Sea - Sub Rosa

Release Date: 7th October 2013

I've always fancied doing a PhD in to some obscure area of the music industry and one notion was to look in to why scenes erupt in certain, seemingly non-descript areas. I know a lot of it is to do with A&R men flocking to find the next big thing in the wake of one regional success but there wasn't exactly an influx of industry toss bags to South Devon after Muse went stratospheric so there has to be more to it than that. Oxford would be a great place to start and that, dear reader, is exactly where The Sea The Sea hail from (ironically, nowhere near the wet stuff). Following the path so well trod by the likes of Radiohead, Supergrass, Ride and Swervedriver, this debut EP is quietly confident and promises more from the quintet even if it isn't the most immediate of impacts - the best things are never obvious, though, are they?

So, the music: Opening track 'These Shadows' is fairly standard 80s indie fare with a modern approach, merging the Cure with Editors and sprinkling on a little Unbelievable Truth for good measure. 'System Sleep' is far more interesting matter altogether, however, as the subdued beat brings the muted guitars to life and the melancholy vocals of Matthew Clarkson bring a touching sensitivity to affairs as he sings about rivers ("Beam the length of Trent or the Nile"). If you mix Dutch Uncles, Vampire Weekend and 'Unforgettable Fire' era U2 together and give the resultant tune a big fat bassline, courtesy of Patrick Merricks, then you will have witnessed the swooning, floppy haired wonderfulness of 'What Came Before' and, lo, your soul will be soothed. The final track on this all-too-brief affair is the unapologetically sombre and funereal 'Anemone'  which, if Bloc Party were to have died recently, would be the song they would have written in heaven with Ian Curtis and Kurt Cobain as they looked down on us and shook their heads at what we've done to humanity. This is not a love at first sight record, nor is it full of lusty, burning passion. No, what The Sea The Sea have created here is a considered, thoughtful and many layered record or, to go back to my previous analogy, this is falling in love with your best friend after years of knowing them about 5 minutes before they get married to a man/woman you know to be an utter douche. It's beautiful and entirely heart breaking at exactly the same time.


Live Dates:
6th October - Truck Store, Oxford
1st November - The Port Mahon, Oxford (w/Sweet William, Fraeda)

22nd November - The Jericho Tavern, Oxford

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