Listen to this while high: Sea Lions' Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sea Lions But Were Afraid to Ask.
These D.I.Y. brats outta Oxnard with a nice line in spirited tunefulness impressive enough for the reliably tasteful people at Oakland's Slumberland Records to release the derivatively titled debut album Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sea Lions But Were Afraid to
Ask. Occupying flackery invokes the grab-bag asymmetry of Lou Reed, Sun Ra,
Syd Barrett, and Orange Juice, a compound that evokes a broad spectrum of
neo-pop and narco-noise. The album drops Dec. 22.
Scenes from a Dayglo Ventura
County: "Intro" is a tasty 34-second lagniappe preceding the gentle
maelstrom of "I Should Be Sleeping," which acquits the Syd Barrett namecheck
admirably in its winsome goofiness. Frontman Adrien Pillado's voice puts me in
mind of the amiably gosh-wow smartass inflections Eddie
Argos brings to Art Brut. "Grown Up" and "Tell You" are both ventures into
sunshine pop yesteryear, and "A Cloud" sounds like one of Jonathan Richman's
coyer sentiments painted over with fructose. "Look" is tuneful and swathed in
the most rarefied melancholy, like some joint Bob Lind or The Cryan Shames
might've rolled back when LBJ hauled up dogs and aides alike by their ears.
"Rainfall" marks this album as too relentlessly cheery to acquit the Lou Reed
comparison, but ends in a nice splatter of wet pet sounds anyway. The chiming
riff of "I Don't Wanna Go Out" and surf rock sheen of "I Loved Her So Much" are
delights to any THC-sensitized ears and "What's the Point?" flashes by with a
rattle of tambourine. "Running in Circles" is scarcely long enough to complete
any arc, but "Untitled (Guitar)" is a nice sourball instrumental dropped in
this assortment box of sweetmeats. "My Girl" is unpretentious lament, "As Times
Change" a confession of learned helplessness, and "A Song for Your Smile" plays
us out with a moody twilight surf instrumental that begins all romper stomper
and ends in a snakish rattle of tambourines.
Hard to believe they get this high in Oxnard.