Release Date: Jan 8, 2016
Record label: CF
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
When a press release tells me that the album I'm about to review delights in 'cherry picking genres with wild abandon', in my head at least, alarm bells start to go off. Sure, we've all heard far too many albums on which the band or artist have found what they consider to be 'paydirt', slipped into automatic pilot and phoned-in somewhere between eight to 11 versions of the same song, so some shifts in tone or pace can be a positive thing, but that shouldn't be to the detriment to the overall cohesion of an album as a whole piece of work. There are some great songs on Soft Days, the second full-length studio album from Girls Names and Cruising man Neil Brogan's Sea Pinks.
It’s hard to understand how albums like Soft Days get made. It’s not that it’s a bad album so much as an unnecessary one. It begs the question of how someone in the position to do something about it hear Sea Pinks and decide that they, above however many other bands, were worthy of signing, recording and generally investing in. It’s competent, and some of the songs are good, but it’s just so much old hat.
For some the sun-bleached, by and large buoyant guitar-pop of Belfast’s Sea Pinks mightn’t feel terribly evocative of a city often presented as a monochrome frontier bound to the spectre of its less luminous past. While the latter impression is suspicious at best, a closer look at the Neil Brogan-fronted trio’s modus operandi reveals a band wielding abstracted reverie as a kind of pure metaphysical statement in song; something the earworming escapism of their second studio album, Soft Days, quite comfortably attests to. Of course, those acquainted will know that the ever-present draw of “elsewhere” – of fairer climes and bygone times – has always seemed as alluring as the simple majesty of the everyday for Brogan.