This week, Sea Girls are back with their sophomore project 'Homesick' and, as we all know, there’s always a lot riding on a second album. This indie rock band steadily rose to fame by releasing several EPs and singles, including the infamous 'All I Want To Hear You Say', prior to the release of their debut album 'Open Up Your Head' in 2020. Hugely successful, Sea Girls’ first album peaked at Number 3 on the UK Albums Chart, and in this album review Beth Walker shares her opinions on 'Hometown' and its successes …
Titled Homesick, with one of their latest singles sharing the titular name, Sea Girls’ second album is just as nostalgic, light-hearted and energetic as their first. Their single Hometown sets the tone for the rest of the album, with Henry Camamile’s distinctive tone welcoming fans and listeners back like old friends. While the song suggests moving on, it’s clear to see that the London formed foursome haven’t strayed too far away from what they do well. This track will undoubtedly be played live at the gigs the band have lined up this summer and it is sure to be euphoric.
"Camamile’s vocals shine, crystal clear and controlled, causing the lyrics to resonate further."
Sick is another track the boys have recently released prior to the album. Catchy but perhaps predictable, I don’t believe that Sick really exhibits the band’s potential and, had this been the first song I’d have heard from Homesick, I’d have been worried for the upcoming album. It just feels a little bit inauthentic, which is atypical for Sea Girls. That said, lyrically and vocally, Sick does develop as it goes on.
However, another single from the new album, Lonely, is redeeming. Camamile regains his usual grit and it is clear that this is a Sea Girls track. Quirky and a little different, despite the same nostalgic feel that Sea Girls seem to capture in most of their songs, this single is a highlight of Homesick.
Sea Girls show further development in their slower tracks whereby a newfound vulnerability is detected both vocally and instrumentally. The acoustic guitar in Cute Guys and Camamile’s high-pitched, gentler tone provides a rare rawness for Sea Girls. I was pleasantly surprised when first listening to this song and feel very happy that this stripped back tune did not become overproduced in any way. In the same vein, Sleeping With You shares this same vulnerability, and though the lyrics are sad and resonant, the rhythmical progression throughout the song prevents this track from seeming sombre.
Such instrumental and rhythmical progression is also evident on the track Someone’s Daughter, Someone’s Son. Drummer Oli Khan breathes some life into this slow-starter and it becomes easy to envisage crowds singing the chorus of this track back to the band at their shows later this year. Again, Again is even more fast-paced, but for me was noticeably reminiscent of Sea Girls’ hit single Violet from their first album.
What I found refreshing about this album was that not quite every song is indicative of love lost, infatuation and such like. The track Friends is smooth and slick in its intro before blossoming into what is a wistful homage to friendship and its significance. Youthful and light-hearted, Friends seems to restore a balance within the album.
"The guitar riffs bring [Lucky] to life, allowing verse to flow into chorus and so on"
One of Sea Girls’ long-term successes is that their songs tell stories. This is apparent in Lucky, when Camamile’s vocals shine, crystal clear and controlled, causing the lyrics to resonate further. This song is also a highlight for lead guitarist Rory Young: the guitar riffs bring this song to life, allowing verse to flow into chorus and so on. Another song that will no doubt be on future setlists, I am struggling to see why Lucky was not chosen as a single for the album.
Higher is an energetic track about getting over an ex – not a shock for a Sea Girls number but enjoyable and fun, nonetheless. What was surprising for me (and I suspect other indie rock fans) was how much Camamile’s vocals on Paracetamol Blues sound like those of The Killers’ Brandon Flowers. If I’d have listened to this song before ever listening to Sea Girls, I would have easily mistaken it for a track by The Killers.
Overall, Homesick is the second album that I think many Sea Girls fans were after. It’s an extension of Open Up Your Head and, while I do think the band have played it safe on a few tracks, there is certainly progression made here. I hope to see Sea Girls topping album charts in the upcoming weeks – it’s certainly possible with what I would deem a triumph of an album.
Edited by: Elliot Fox
In article images courtesy of Sea Girls via Facebook. Video courtesy of Sea Girls via YouTube.