12 jun 2012

SEA LIONS:Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sea Lions But...

by Tim Sendra
By the time of the release of their 2011 album, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Sea Lions But Were Afraid to Ask, the indie pop community was eagerly awaiting the Sea Lions' official debut and it’s easy to see why. How could they not be stoked about a band whose influences were Sarah Records, the Television Personalities, Beat Happening, early Slumberland bands, Love, and Orange Juice? How could they ignore the stream of excellent songs, singles, and tapes the band unleashed in the years previous? How could they not be instantly charmed by vocalist Adrian Pillado’s deep and artless vocals that makes him sound like Calvin Johnson's young, and ultra melancholy, cousin? The short answer is that it was pretty much impossible not to be eager to the point of maniacal. The Sea Lions, in concept and in reality, are like indie pop catnip and Everything You Always Wanted to Know is like a 50-lb. bag of the stuff. Pillado’s songs are super-catchy and his vocals spot-on, and the band sounds perfectly shambolic but also full of energy and verve, sort of like a cross between the Pastels and a '60s garage band like the Dovers. Songs like “I Loved Her So Much” and “I Should Be Sleeping” have a timeless jangle that would fit perfectly in 1966, 1986, or 2011, capturing feelings of teenage angst that will never go out of fashion. Pillado has a knack for making the smallest moments of heartbreak sound like utter tragedy but always remembers to wrap the emotion in melodies that would sound good coming out of supermarket speakers (well, a super cool market anyway). Along with the cheerful gloom and sweetness, there’s also a healthy dose of post-punk angularity and weirdness in the Sea Lions sound, so you can’t write them off as indie pop weaklings. They also don’t sound like they are copying anyone, which gives them instant cred and appeal to indie pop fans who have heard it all. Of course, if songs about eating cereal, endlessly pining for girls, and generally moping around like it was going out of style, sung in a voice that won’t win any singing competitions anytime soon, make you instantly want to throw a hissy fit, steer clear. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Sea Lions But Were Afraid to Ask is an album for sensitive souls who like to make a bunch of noise and aren’t afraid to sound dorky while they do it. Along the way they made an indie pop instant classic.

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