‘Under Exit Lights’ by Sea Girls [EP Review]

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My first thought on hearing this album was that it had a very summery feel to it–probably because of all the synths mixed with that indie pop atmosphere.

Now, look, I don’t mean to drag any genre of music because everyone has different tastes. I’ve had to explain my own taste in music enough times to my friends that I understand some genres just aren’t for everyone.

For me, the whole indie pop vibe isn’t really my style. I don’t mind actual independent artists creating pop-inspired music but the mass produced indie pop–as counter intuitive as that genre sounds–really never clicked with me.

However, this is an album I enjoyed a lot more than I thought I would. The first track, Ready For More, did’t grab my attention but the second, Why Won’t You Admit impressed me a lot–it’s one of my favourite tracks on the album.

And that’s kind of my relationship with this album as a whole: there are tracks that I really enjoy and there are tracks I find forgettable.

Highlights

Even the songs I didn’t particularly enjoy, like Ready For More as mentioned above, have an infectious bounce to them. This has a lot to do with Oli Khan on drums. I don’t know what it is about how the way he plays but it always seems to get me moving.

I love the slides and scoops that Camamile puts into his vocals in Why Won’t You Admit during the chorus. There’s something really fun and playful with the way he approaches his vocals that blend well with the vibe of the instrumentation.

The synths are a particular favourite of mine and what I enjoy about their use on this album is that they’re not over used. This isn’t a synth heavy album. They’re more like little accents on the songs that add just a touch of energy and fun to the music.

Low Points

I want to start by saying that I don’t actually hate any of the songs on this album. There’s nothing here to tell me that there is a lack of talent–everything is very polished–and that other people wouldn’t enjoy them. They’re just not for me.

I think what really gets me about the songs I don’t enjoy on this album is that they feel too safe. The vocals stay in a neutral part of Henry Camamile’s range and the payoff of the chorus seems underwhelming. There are more than one moment when the song feels like it’s just sort of meandering along and doesn’t have anywhere it wants to be. It makes the album as a whole feel a little directionless.

And, of course, there’s the closing song Soldier On. I’ve not been subtle about how I feel about anthem songs. They’re really not my thing and I always feel like I’m being talked down to. Even if this album had been stronger with its other tracks it would still be a bit disappointing to end it with a song like this. Not that it too doesn’t have its better moments.

Favourite Track: Violet

This song got into my good-books really quickly–who doesn’t love a slide on the electric guitar? Don’t get many of those anymore.

This isn’t something that comes up a lot when I decided whether or not I like a song, but the melody of the vocals in this song are so good. That little minor note in the prechorus–it’s something my old vocal coach would have called “groovy” which was the greatest complement she could give one of her students–and then there’s the belting note in the chorus itself where Camamile really lets loose with this voice that gives me goose-bumps whenever I hear it. It’s the song that made me realise he had some real vocals going on.

Also, the bass on this track is so funky and plays off of those boucey drums perfectly. It makes you want to dance even before you memorize the words.

And on that note, I’m incapable of not singing the chorus of this song. It’s impossible. I’ve learned the words and will now sing them at the top of my lungs whenever this song comes on. It is my burden.

Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I honestly don’t know how to feel about this album.

On the one hand there are songs I know I will come back to time and time again. On the other, there are songs so lukewarm I know I’ll never listen to them after this album has been lost to the ether.

I guess my real concern with this band is that it sounds safe. I don’t expect them to come out with anything new or innovative. They are a feel-good summer-hit kind of band and there’s certainly a place for those bands in this world, but they’re not the bands that go down in history.

This EP will mostly be forgotten I suspect but at least it was a fun ride.

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