18 January 2010

Heads Up: The Sea Kings

The Internet is really a labyrinth. Navigating it and finding something you like can be quite difficult, sort of like a tourist navigating through New York City without a map. But once in a while you come across something that you immediately have to jump on, less you forget where to find it again. Recently, that something is The Sea Kings – an English folk band. I immediately reached out to them; they shared two songs with me, that are streaming on their MySpace, and this is a band you really should listen to; they may just turn you onto folk.

Currently recording their debut album, The Sea Kings (Jake Alexander, Joe Holtaway, and James Wills) combine folk sensibility with a progressive approach to their song writing, as demonstrated in their two songs streaming on their MySpace. However, I would not simply lump them into a “prog folk” group, because it would undermine their efforts. Underneath the folk music is a strong pop sensibility, a real knowledge of how to write music that is appealing, but not giving up their own distinctiveness. As they have alluded to before, the nautical influences of Cromwall (where all three members grew up) have seeped into their music, but what’s important to remember is that each member has brought their own influences and ideas about music and composition, as they all had written music and performed as solo artists prior to composing and performing together.

The Sea Kings, Greenwich Park, Summer 2008

What will catch many people by surprise is the lusciousness of their three-part harmonies. But even though their harmonies are intricate, as much of their arrangements, this is a band that is quite straightforward: three guys on their instruments, no gimmicks, no production tricks, just straightforward music. As demonstrated by the track that is playing, “Sails and Boards” (which the band has given us permission to stream here), the music relies on the lyrical and musical imagery, along side of the intertwining vocal harmonies with the musical arrangements, to generate a strong emotional undertow. This is not the generic folk music you have come across in the past (at least not in my experience). Listen to the track again, and admit that you are waiting for the debut of this album as much as I am.

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Keep up with The Sea Kings at their MySpace page.

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