Album Review: Sea Girls ‘Open Up Your Head’

With half a decade of writing and performing under their belts, it is no surprise that Sea Girls are confidently clear in who they are. This assertive stance on just what their style is, and what type of songs they are drawn toward bringing abloom, has resulted in a collection of tracks that can’t help but draw an abundance of refreshed appreciation from fans and critics alike.

‘Transplant’ has been described as “the most Sea Girls song ever”, and it does follow the band’s established hit-song formula. The lyrics are brutal; Henry sings “your heart changed, mine stayed the same”, and the line can’t help but hit home for numerous fans listening along. The group effortlessly relate to their audience throughout the record, having spent years getting to know them with vibrant live shows and, more recently, an endlessly welcoming virtual presence.

We can weave together a rough story line, and there’s a humor in the description of two people being on the phone and unable to really hear each other. However, the comical situation becomes heartbreaking; the song is essentially a goodbye, and an ode to collapsing communications. A euphoric chorus greets us after the fierce build up, with vocals and guitars woven together in a howling few lines that truly do epitomize the band’s thunderous, almost-pop sound.

‘Closer’, ‘Call Me Out’, and ‘Violet’ are some of the pre-existing tracks that have made it on to the album track list, and slot in brilliantly with the new material. ‘Do You Really Know’ is the perfect summer anthem, with a boppy melody underlying slightly darker lyrics.

Though known primarily for indie-pop, ‘Lie To Me’ shows a Sea Girls experimenting slightly with style; it’s almost Western in the vocal style and clapping melodies underpinning them. “I cut my teeth on something that I shouldn’t eat” is one of their best lines yet, and leads in to the candid exclamation, “I’m a baby”. ‘Forever’ soon follows, as the product of year of tweaking and precise labour. Sharp, galvanizing guitars crescendo and beautifully compliment the huge vocal strength. Something about the song is just inextricably mammoth; there’s an immensity to it that many aim for, and not many reach.

Keen to also open up their tracks to gentler tones, the group have penned ‘You Over Anyone’; a ballad telling a universally relatable love story. It doesn’t quite live up to ‘Daisy Daisy’ – a soft track from their 2017 Call Me Out EP, but it is hard to imagine that much will.

No strangers to a tune that gathers in momentum, the group have epitomized their ever-evolving guitar notes with ‘Weight in Gold’. With tracks such as this, you forget that the core concept to the album is a traumatic head injury. The effervescent tunes hook firmly in your own head, and skillfully glaze over the darkness that grounds much of the lyrical content. You dance along, joining in with the rose-coloured illusion of the songs themselves.

‘Shake’ and ‘Moving On’ also revert back to Sea Girls’ raucous roots, with the expected blazing chorus’ near enough begging you to see them live and sing along. The latter track in particular ends the album on a triumphant note; the message of acceptance and optimism towards a projected progress is glaringly forefront. Henry’s vocals flare and spark with an immersive buoyancy: the entire track is lifted through melody and tone. We see a lighter, unburdened band close the collection.

Open Up Your Head is out this Friday (14th August) via Polydor Records, across all major platforms.

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