Cecily Sheppard

ALBUM REVIEW: ‘Tell Me It’s Real’ – Seafret

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The first thing that has to be said about Seafret is what a fabulous name. I feel relaxed already. If you look it up in the OED, you’ll find ‘sea fret’ refers to the mist rolling off the sea, a little bit floaty and empty, perhaps. But lacking in substance this debut album is not.

From the opening track onwards, it’s clear that vocalist Jack Sedman’s voice was made to give a strange but beautiful vulnerable grit over multi-instrumentalist Harry Draper’s acoustic guitar-led sound. Over the course of ‘Missing’, Sedman’s vocal makes friends with a rising piano line, followed by that ever-distinctive sound of the acoustic guitar, and then gets sandwiched between synth vibes that build into what becomes a slightly frantic ball of sound and emotion – pretty accurate summing up of life, really.

The rest of the album continues as strong as it begins, combining the grace and airs of acoustic with a grittier vocal that really makes you sit up and listen. Songs like ‘Skimming Stones’, ‘Atlantis’ and ‘To The Sea’ point out the deliberate correlation between music and band name – it’s gentle on the surface, but there’s a heck of a lot of power there. Then there’s ‘Oceans’, the video for which stars Maisie Williams, and deserves all 3 million YouTube hits with or without the Game of Thrones star. It’s soft, simple, and relatively easy to pick up lyrically, which is always great if you’re hearing a band for the first time. But what strikes me about this track in particular is the way it works together so seamlessly.

Perhaps my favourite track on the release is current single ‘Wildfire’. It’s the kind of thing you might end up with if you put Bastille, Jason Mraz and James Bay in a boat together, except better. While most of the songs on ‘Tell Me It’s Real’ have the same lost or lingering love vibe, they’re all disintive, which is remarkably refreshing, and all the tracks are as strong as each other.

If you haven’t got your telescope honed in on them already, Seafret are definitely one to watch. The tides are changing, and I reckon Seafret will be riding that wave to success.

Sweet Jane/Columbia Records release ‘Tell Me It’s Real’ on 29th January.

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