Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Seeing Soft Pink

Belfast trio Sea Pinks have always been an interesting band that has thus far failed to fully arrest – to provide that pivotal epiphany moment where time stops, even for the briefest breath of a moment, and everything aligns. Soft Days is almost that moment – it’s an album of sonic subterfuge, that stuns and muddies the water from the get-go. ‘(I Don’t Feel Like) Giving In’ starts with a slow, stark feedback-flecked drone, before opening into a jumped-up tempo 60s monochrome number, both Stones pop and Van Morrison-led Them snarl-lite. It must be noted that Neil Brogan used to be in Girls Names, if only to state that it’s interesting to see two Irish bands from the same gene pool growing in confidence, albeit in a different way. Both send parting glances to bands of yesteryear – but while Girls Names lathers themselves in Joy Division ennui, manicured style and substance excess, Soft Days is all about marrying Flying Nun guitar pop majesty with 70s power pop standard bearers, with the occasional Dando-Richman inflection slipping in the back door (such as in the excellent ‘Cold Reading’). People say it is strange that such buoyant fare should come from such a notoriously wet and “miserable” place – but two things stand in the face of this. Even if you think that opposites often emanate from the wellspring, it’s hard to dissuade me from the idea that such ebullient hooks transcend geography. There are moments of darker rock touches – ‘Down Dog’ and the slight fuzz fadeout of the closing title track – yet while I love noise, it’s just as warm staying in this golden bubble. The last few months have seen a strong push for jangle-centric pop records (Salad Boys, Pete Astor, Nap Eyes), and Soft Days puts Sea Pinks right up in the mix. The record is out through CF Records – get it here.

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