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Homesick is an effortless second cut from Sea Girls

"Homesick"

Release date: 18 March 2022
8/10
Sea Girls Homesick
22 March 2022, 16:50 Written by Ims Taylor
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​​Sea Girls stormed past the ‘debut album’ milestone with ease – and they return with a second effort that passes their next milestone just as effortlessly.

Except this time, there’s not the pressure of several years worth of festival appearances breeding raucous anticipation, EPs and deep cuts becoming niche classics, or fan-favourites that may or may not make that coveted debut. On Open Up Your Head, the name that Sea Girls had made for themselves revolved around how anthemic the likes of "Damage Done", "Open Up Your Head", "All I Want To Hear You Say" et al were, and when you’ve unleashed your greatest, most euphoric numbers pre-album, it’s hard to meet those expectations.

The overarching atmosphere of Homesick is catharsis, as usual, but in the sense that Sea Girls are free to explore more sounds, as well as tighten up what they’ve brought forward from their back catalogue. The title track and opener, in particular, is a microcosm of everything that’s made people fall in love with this band. It boasts those soaring choruses, delicious riffs, sunny scream-along vibes galore – and maybe even one of Sea Girls’s greatest scream-along moments, in the form of “we didn’t talk cos it wasn’t cool to talk about”, fitting for the cathartic reflections packed in the rest of the lyrics.

In similar veins, single "Again Again", and album standouts "Paracetamol Blues", "Somebody’s Daughter Someone's Son", the list goes on… almost all of these songs could have been singles. There’s no banger that feels like it doesn’t quite hit the mark, or doesn’t need to be where it is, keeping the energy as buoyant as Sea Girls’s delightedly restless live crowds. The band have always packaged vulnerability and intimate songwriting in expansive, elated instrumentals, and on Homesick they’ve simply turned the notch up on both.

What demonstrates Sea Girls’s development, then, is how they handle the stuff that isn’t necessarily their absolute calling card. Short answer: really well. There’s no awkward sense of exploration not quite pulled off, there’s no feeling that they tried to reign themselves in or force an exciting-but-different-from-the-rest into another direction, and it’s a good look on them. "Cute Guys" sees them go a little fuzzier, a little heavier, ditching some of their guitar-pop sensibilities in favour of something a bit grungier. They set us up for this well by leading with "Sick" – a slow burner, familiar in how intensely confessional it is, but a bit of a 180 in sound.

However Sea Girls maintain their hooky charm, even in the moments when they change it up. "Lucky", especially, is a late highlight. Though it’s a bit slower than Sea Girls’s usual pace, its magnitude remains the same, reminiscent of golden-era Vaccines and the emotional punch of "All In White". Sea Girls are taking the torch from guitar-pop pioneers, and telling stories with just as much strength.

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