Playful Coastal Creatures
From sunny Oxnard, California comes the jangly, fractious sounds of Sea Lions. Guitarist and deadpan vocalist Adrian Pillado started rallied some friends to play music in 2007 and they’ve been gathering members and speed ever since. Coming out of the city’s punk scene, the quintet drew inspiration from the softer side of DIY and put out their first single in 2009 on local label Yay!
Their use of toy instruments, innocent lyrics, and post-punk riffs call up C86-era indie pop and the early days of K Records’s twee reign, but there’s a decidedly beachy twist to their tender tunes. Songs like “My Girl” and “A Song for Your Smile,” on their debut album Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sea Lions, But Were Afraid to Ask, are too bright and robust to be influenced by British weather or K Records’s rainy Olympia, Washington. And they execute most songs with to much verve and nervous energy for it to be purely indie pop. Even on the album they rush through the songs like summer vacation will starts they’re done. Think of it as indie pop for falling off your skateboard repeatedly until you get bored and go find yourself a chili dog.
The album is out soon on Slumberland Records and it definitely deserves the backing of that venerable label. Though the music is still a little wobbly on its feet, that doesn’t hide the classic quality of a song like “Look” — perfect for slow dancing at the post-punk prom — or “I Loved Her So Much” with its gentle surf vibe and haunting familiarity. They might bring back memories of indie music’s past, but Sea Lions has a bright indie rock future.
Image courtesy of Slumberland/Credit Vanessa Darby