I first became aware of Seafret at Festival No. 6 last year. I was reviewing at this wonderful festival, set in the architectural delight of Portmeirion (review here) for eFestivals. I kept getting sent invites to extra curricular things that I could indulge in.
One of these things was a special press invite to the Nespresso construction on site. I would be treated to coffee cocktails and canapés concocted by an award winning barman/drinks chef whilst being entertained by some live music. For the sake of journalistic investigation, I put aside my moral and political objections to Nescafé for an hour or two.
As the midday sun beat down upon us, we reclined on comfy garden furniture, elevated from punters below, whilst the two members of Seafret, Jack and Harry, played us acoustic versions of their tunes and answered questions that we fired at them. I put aside an overwhelming desire to ask about ‘celebrity lookalikes’ (lead singer, Jack, has incredible hair that’s in the same spectrum as Sideshow Bob) and instead asked about secrets of songwriting, dreams and influences.
Jack and Harry proved themselves to be decent, affable, young chaps from the North East. They had a gentle, positive ambition which shone bright like the sun above. The fact that the amplification provided by Nespresso was barely fit for purpose didn’t phase them. These were songs about love that screamed ‘Radio 2 hit’. I went and saw their full band set an hour later.
Seafret’s first album, ‘Tell Me It’s Real’, comes out next week. It’s not an album that’s going to get raved about for pushing the boundaries of art but it is an album choc-a-bloc with solid songwriting, powerful husk-fuelled vocals and tunes that build from acoustic shuffles into fully blown epics. Those who like their lyrics obscure or their melodies random might level accusations of bland cliche at Seafret but I’m sure they’re big enough to ride such criticism.
As befits a band from the North East named after a sea mist, the influence of the coast permeates within many of the songs. In ‘Oceans’ (rhymed with emotions), the sea gently crashes into the shore as Jack agonises that it ‘feels like there’s oceans between you and me’. My favourite tune that they played at Festival No. 6 was ‘Skimming Stones’. Here they are on a rocky coastline ‘like a skimming stone, waiting to be thrown back to you’. Elsewhere, they draw on the legend of ‘Atlantis’, comparing the mythical sea-based city to the state of their relationship. Their folk-based origins come to the fore in ‘To The Sea’, a song that Jack sings in duet with the seductive voice of Rosie Carney. ‘Do you think of me when you look to the sea?’ they sing in an elevated, passionate state.
‘Tell Me It’s Real’ is an album full of love songs. Some of the songs are sung to distant, long-lost lovers whilst others are much more for the here and now. If you’re ideal of happiness is keeping warm around a late night log fire, entwined in the limbs of the love of your life, then I’d bet you a coffee cocktail that you’d love this particular record.