Sometimes the world just spins too fast and you can’t keep up, right? So it was that I had not twigged the connection between Girls Names and Sea Pinks until this year, when I really dug their wonderful ‘Dreaming Tracks’ set. The connection of course is Neil Brogan, and I trust he will forgive me for saying that really the only reason I dug Girls Names in the first place was because of that song ‘Lawrence’, and that it only recently came to my attention that Sea Pinks also recorded a cover of ‘Ballad Of The Band’ back in 2010, so, you know, ‘it all fits’ and all that. All of which is a wonderfully clumsy way of saying that I adored ‘Dreaming Tracks’ this year in much the same way that I have adored Felt or Denim or Go-Kart Mozart records in the past, and that is really saying something. Lawrence has said something in the past about how groups do not really sound the way they want to sound until they are on a major label, or at the very least until they have the luxury of a proper recording studio and producer, and there was something of that in the sound of this Sea Pinks record. For whilst the spiky, pared down ‘no-fi’ home recording aesthetic of the earlier Sea Pinks records sounds appealing, this first ‘full band’ studio recording took Sea Pinks to another, more assured and matured level. There was a warmth abounding in the powder pink grooves of ‘Dreaming Tracks’ that conjured notions of The Feelies in front of an open fire, or of Stars Of Heaven spinning those old rare Gram Parsons recordings on a red Dansette in a darkly panelled snug, glass of fifteen year old Glenfarclas clutched tight. Or maybe that’s just me. Whatever, if you like your guitar pop warmly roasted but with a distinct bite then there were fewer better albums than this in 2014.
Sea Pinks - ‘Dreaming Tracks' (Bandcamp)