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Review: Sea Girls- Open Up Your Head

Written by Album reviews, Music

The date was February 28th,2019 on a cold winter night in Newcastle. I was sat in the large hall of the Northumbria Institute ahead of Sea Girls’ gig in the small room next door. Of course, they could easily fill both rooms combined now if not more.

I was lucky enough to be interviewing Henry Camamile and Oli Khan from the band and we were all sat cross legged on the main stage. They had just released their new single ‘Open Up Your Head’ and we discussed the track and the little-known fact that Henry had also had his own show on NSR while at university. As I sat there on the cold wooden stage floor I knew that their stock was rising and their status as Indie cult heroes was cementing itself. However, not even I would have predicted that they would rise so high and that ‘Open Up Your Head’ would lend its name to their debut album.

Sea Girls have delivered a varied and nuanced debut which manages to avoid the typical indie pitfalls of songs about boozy nights and fast love.

Open Up Your Head might be missing its namesake song, but the spirit of the single is very much alive on throughout the record. On the surface there’s all the bangers that you’d expect from one of the UK indie scene’s most celebrated new artists. However, there is an introspective thread linking each track together. ‘Do You Really Wanna Know’- the lead single from the record- is full of vulnerability and laments a lack of self-acceptance. Similarly, ‘Ready For More’ examines Henry’s self-destructive cycle of behaviour, trapped doing the same things over and over until the only thing he can do is prepare for the cycle to start again.

Wonderfully ironic, Open Up Your Head is both a metaphorical as well as a physical dive into Henry’s mind. The title was inspired by a serious head injury the singer suffered at work which drastically affected his mental health. As a result, Open Up Your Head is full of relatable raw emotion. The oldest track on the album, ‘Call Me Out’, has been around since 2017 and has had a fresh new edit for the record. The song launched the band’s career and instrumentally its synths are more pronounced and sumptuous while the pound of the drums is far more dramatic. The song’s message is consistent with the overall theme of the record, with the songs narrator asking his partner to call his bad behaviour out so that he can grow from his mistakes. ‘Lie To Me’ has a similar thematical vibe, as the narrator struggles with his own sensitivity, telling his partner to lie to him rather than tell him a truth he can’t bear.

Open Up Your Head is both a metaphorical as well as a physical dive into Henry’s mind.

The London-based band have also embraced a diverse array of sounds for their debut LP, perfectly balancing the influence of past greats whilst also blazing their own sonic trails. The U2-esque ‘Forever’ feels like a song befitting stadiums with its bright choruses and dazzling guitar work from Rory Young and bassist Andrew Noswad. Penultimate track ‘You Over Anyone’ is also a bit of a first for the band, doing away with guitars and instead opting for a lo-fi piano instrumental, complimenting Camamile’s intimate vocal performance. ‘Transplant’- the album’s opener- embraces a synth-heavy sound which flows under Camamile’s beautifully harmonized vocals. The track’s bridge section is also one of the best moments on the album and will definitely be a festival hit.

Sea Girls have delivered a varied and nuanced debut which manages to avoid the typical indie pitfalls of songs about boozy nights and fast love. Open Up Your Head showcases a band who are capable of genuine emotion and have certainly outgrown that cold wooden stage they once sat next to me on.

(4/5)

Last modified: 15th August 2020

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