Dream-pop, indie-pop, power-pop… It’s all here on Soft Days, the new record from Sea Pinks, a Northern Irish outfit with members of Girls Names and Cruising. Rather than some of the earlier albums, recorded solo in DIY style by singer Neil Brogan, this record is smoothly and clearly produced. Released by CF Records, as CD or LP.
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It’s not everyday that our normally mild mannered Star War enthusiast Ian snaps but he has done twice whilst listening to this record. You see he’s sick to the back teeth of the post-Real Estate jangle.
Despite my love for jangle pop I can see his point. Last year saw far too many also, and not enough good memories within the genre -- but it’s unfair to pick on Sea Pinks and blame them for other people's lack of creativity. Opener '(I Don’t Feel Like) Giving In' has a garage-y feel that recalls Icicle Works and Fresh and Onlys at the same time. In fact if you wanted a title to sum up lazy indie pop it would be ‘Ordinary Daze’, yet there’s a Lee Mavers rasp to the vocals and the guitars jangle and swoon pleasingly. Sea Pinks remind me a lot of the more literate, bookish side of C86 -- they seem to be better when their hearts aren’t racing. ‘Trend When You Are Dead’ has the nice sheen of Close Lobsters, the guitars do all the things I want them to but while the album tinkers along pleasantly in the background I keep seeing Ian’s screwed up face in the corner.
There is something lacking here though that stops the record reaching the dizzy heights of say the last few Triptides records. The production is thin and samey and the songs at times lack hooks and character… there are many enjoyable moments particularly the soft swoon of ‘Depth of Field’ which really does match those Triptides records. Hang on...I know the answer -- it’s reverb. A lack of it? The wrong type perhaps? Too much? Who knows.
Anyway enough of my over analysis, ‘Depth of Field’ and other tracks here prove that this Belfast band have their indie-pop hearts in the right place after all.
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