Neil Renton reviews Sea Girls' live return to Edinburgh's Liquid Rooms (13 September 2021) and discusses how their debut helped him through the lockdown.
I got into Sea Girls at the exact time I was getting out of antidepressants.
The debut album from the indie quartet, ironically titled Open Up Your Head soundtracked my countless walks around the block when, due to Covid restrictions, that’s all we were able to do.
And their tales of angst, reflection and perseverance from a band wearing their hearts on their sleeves resonated with me as much as any artist had in years. Of being in love and feeling unwanted.
Listening to the songs now transports me back to that time when I was busy taking unsteady steps, both metaphorically and physically. I hoped they’d be able to do the material justice. I also hoped that the concert organised by Assai Records to play their debut album in its entirety would eventually go ahead after it was rescheduled due to You Know What.
Thankfully it did. The band ambled on stage in the Liquid Rooms with the delicate appearance of a group of lads who’d just made it back from a festival. And as they’d performed on the TRNSMT main stage days ago you couldn’t blame them.
The crowd scattered over various age groups didn’t mind one bit. For many, this was the first concert they’d been to in ages. They weren’t going to let it stop them from it being one to remember.
The London outfit are unashamedly indie. When I first heard them my initial lazy comparison was that of The Killers. They’re not as polished as the Vegas supergroup but who is? What they do share is a DNA of producing the type of anthems you relate to. While throwing in a bit of swearing.
From the way they powered through their tunes, it’s clear they’ve not spent lockdown sitting in their arses making TikToks. They rip through the likes of ‘All I Want To Hear You Say’ and ‘Ready For More’ with the skill of seasoned professionals while looking genuinely humbled to be able to perform.
Meanwhile, ‘You Over Anyone’ is the remarkably honest admission of feelings towards that person you want to spend the rest of your life with. It doesn't lose it's impact in a sweaty venue. Instead, it hits even harder.
Towards the end of the show singer Henry Camamile confessed that his voice was struggling to cope. He didn’t need to worry, especially when it came to the bands best song ‘Damage Done’ a defiant middle finger to anyone who deserves it sung back by a delirious mosh pit. A moment of joy between the crowd and the band, both thriving off each other.
There’s the danger that they’ll follow it up Open Up Your Head with that dodgy second album many indie bands produce. You know the sort. Woe is me. I’m in a band and we’re successful and things are going well but we’re going to lower the mood a bit and moan a bit more.
Judging by the new song ‘Sick’ that they finish on, it won’t be the case. Instead, it looks like we’re going to be treated to more punch the air anthems and hopefully more superb live shows.
Which is just what the doctor ordered.