A love letter to early post-punk.
The Sea At Midnight, the moniker for Vince Grant, unabashedly wears its influences on its sleeve. A fan of early post-punk music such as Joy Division, Depeche Mode, New Order and The Cure, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. The Sea At Midnight is a little colder and packs a punky punch.
Opening with ‘Medicine’, a possible comment on the mental state of addiction, the gazing guitars are strong and full of power chords. The muddy production is very ‘of the early post-punk’ era. The drums have a giant reverb on them that screams 1985. The bass is rubbery as possible in tracks like ‘Melancholia’ and ‘How Many Times’ to really sell the wall of sound vibe.
Single ‘We Share The Same Stars’ is still the triumphant culmination of everything The Sea At Midnight brings together. Its intricate guitars, washed-out drums and hazy vocals all merge together to create a great rock song. Right up there with it is the darkwave ‘Afterglow’ that mixes in some nifty rhythmic synths that give the track a techno undercurrent. ‘Anything About You’ is also anthemic with its 80’s pop-rock choruses and celestial keyboards. Fans of The Cure especially will feel at home here.
Across at least half of the tracks though, there is a general vocal dissonance against the music. When everything is full of reverb and is muddied together, this can work really well and sound edgy and punked-up. There are moments on some of the tracks where it sounds really off-key and not in a good way. They really stand out too because it often happens in the quieter moments of songs which is unfortunate.
If you can look passed or enjoy those musical quirks, The Sea At Midnight has certainly captured a lot of what made early post-punk great. Some killer choruses, decent riffs and plenty of moody lyrics and vocals generally overcome some of its technical shortcomings. A bit of polish and there is a great artist waiting to break out here in the future. This release will be a grower.
Recommended track: We Share The Same Stars
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