Whether it’s the pounding indie-turned-classic rock of Arctic Monkeys, the disco inspired Britpop of Pulp or the bass heavy electronics of LFO, Sheffield has long been fertile ground for emerging musicians to cut their teeth. It stands to reason, then, that all female indie pop sextet The Seamonsters should hail from there, too. The group’s last single, ‘Lost (And Found)’, was a dreamy, Cure-esque journey through softly muted guitars and understated but soaring vocals. The band’s latest effort, ‘Wonderland’, harks back to the indie roots of the city: razor-sharp riffs, driving, murky guitars and a intensely catchy chorus.
The Seamonsters have come along at just the right time. There is a quiet indie and garage rock movement gaining traction across the country, spearheaded by politically aware bands like Shame and introspective post-punk rockers YOWL. The renaissance evidently doesn’t stop on the borders of Peckham, though, and while The Seamonsters are yet to release anything reflecting the growing disillusionment with nearly a decade of austerity and Tory governments, they’re by no means running out of time. (Unfortunately.)
For now, their sweet, lovelorn lyrics and subtly ominous guitars will do. Moving away from the synth-laden, post-punk vibe of their first single, ‘Wonderland’ drives forward on the back of Tassie Drobinski’s powerful chord progression and the angelic, falsetto vocals of Naomi Mann. The lyrics, as simple as they are memorable, are suggestive of fairy-tale romance, of the naivety and warm content of being young and in love.
If there’s one thing about this track that could be criticised, it’s that it’s too polished. Half the rigour and the thrill of listening to new indie bands like Trudy and the Romance or The Idles is the raw energy of their recordings, a mirror image of their chaotic live shows. The Seamonsters have focused on producing a single that is expertly recorded and produced, but I’d surmise it doesn’t quite do justice to the evident energy behind the track. There is, occasionally, a case for making a sound that grabs you by the balls, rather than getting it perfect.
Nonetheless, it’s an impressive follow up to an equally impressive debut single. The band has evidently spent time painstakingly structuring this track, and it pays off. What you’re left with is as straightforward an indie-love song as you could want: driving guitars, a piercing, angular riff, and a painfully catchy chorus. Hopefully The Seamonsters will manage to pick up the same hype that bands like Dead Pretties have in South London, and prove that the North, as it always has been, is a progenitor of danceable, fun indie music that both doesn’t take itself too seriously and vaguely knows, as Alex Turner once mused, it’s pulling rock back out of the sludge, and into the limelight again.