There are some bands who release an album every six years and then there are some bands who release six albums in the same timeframe. Sea Pinks are thankfully the latter. Watercourse sees the band continuing to build on and refine their own brand of guitar driven pop even further. Picking up where 2016’s Soft Days left off, the songs are leaner, the drums punchier and the guitars crispier (!). Backing vocals cut in and out of songs perfectly but never dominate. The only thing that dominates is the songs.
In the past Sea Pinks may have been pigeon-holed as jangle-pop or power-pop or even surf-pop but after listening to this album inside and out none of this matters. This is a solid guitar-driven album by a band ever more comfortable and confident in their own skin.
Neil Brogan, guitarist and vocalist of the group, has said that they are a singles band hellbent on making albums. It is this aesthetic that they apply throughout Watercourse. The majority of these songs could be released as singles. Inspirations and musical touchstones are littered throughout this album like confetti. The Smiths, Real Estate, early R.E.M are just a few that come to mind when listening to this album. But not in a plagiaristic wholesale rip-off kind of way. Rather they use these sounds and effects in their songs respectfully and creatively to come up with an album and set of songs that could only be Sea Pinks.
Highlights are numerous among the 10 tracks and your new favourite song will change with each listen. At present I am torn between the sublime Smithsy jangle of ‘Into Nowhere’ and the college rock of ‘How long must I be denied’. This is a great album by a great band. As the old saying goes it’s quality not quantity. But this band has both. In Spades.