Updated: Sep 16, 2020
UK indie rock band Sea Girls are hitting all the right notes with the release of their debut album Open Up Your Head, which consists of fourteen doses of jagged, maddenly catchy guitar-pop, with a familiar blend of alt-rock influences from the last two-plus decades. Open Up Your Head sees Sea Girls share a chain of personal, emotionally-fraught tracks that landed the record at #3 on the UK album chart.
If you, like me, are a fan of British indie rock, you might feel like you’ve been listening to this album for years, very quickly finding yourself attempting to harmonise with frontman Henry Camamile as you energetically bob your head, hitting that sweet spot between swaying and head-banging.
Immediately bringing to mind bands such as Foals, The Hunna, Blossoms, even The Wombats, I felt instantly at home within the comforting melodies found in each Open Up Your Head track. The release really makes use of Lead singer Henry Camamile's low and throaty locals in the verse which often culminates in a belting, addictive chorus that you just know would cause you to lose your voice at a live show.
Instantly stuck-in-your-head tracks 'Lie To Me' and 'Call Me Out', will have you hooked despite, or perhaps because of, their predictability. More of a slow build, 'Lie To Me' starts simple: acoustic guitar and simmering vocals leaving plenty of room for the song to hit that relentless chorus you can’t help but embrace.
"I think 'Lie To Me' is very much it’s own kind-of thing within the album. I was listening to a lot of Bruce Springsteen and modern Americana like The War On Drugs at the time. It’s a love song that says: you don’t have to tell me you don’t love me, just lie to me and say you do...I didn't want to hold back. I just didn’t care if I was hitting the notes, it was more about the intensity of it all. That was the most important thing, and we think it shines because of it."
The animated 'Call Me Out', led by swift drumming and laced with lively synth-guitar riffs, the song building to a spirited instrumental breakdown worthy of your air-guitar solo. Best heard at ear ringing volume accompanied by steering-wheel drumming, either of these would be lively additions to your road trip playlist.
"‘Call Me Out’ is the oldest song on this album and it changed our lives. It was the fastest song I’d ever written and is just a collection of lines around how I was feeling at that time of my life. Of feeling unsure about what you’re doing, what your purpose is, our desire to make it as a band and feeling how so many people do when you feel completely inadequate and you’re looking for someone to fill that void. Not planning for the future and being aware of how reckless that is, taking that risk. As a band and as a person, just committing everything to music and seeing people around me make other life choices and feeling insecure about that. This song did so much for us, I think we knew it was special before we even put it out, and it changed everything. We end pretty much every set on it and it’s become the foundation or the DNA of a Sea Girls gig and we’ll be playing it for a long long time," says Camamile.
Also found within Open Up Your Head’s energetic tracks is a deeper meaning as Sea Girls reflect on personal issues, exploring Henry Camamile’s mental health struggles stemming from a traumatic brain injury.
Easy favourite 'Do You Really Wanna Know' achieves this sought-after blend of emo-rock within a pop-laden, snappy anthem, with Henry’s post-teen anxiety obvious from the first line 'I’ve been overthinking all of my life / They’ll be asking up in heaven why I fell on my knife'. Before a relentlessly questioning chorus 'Do you really wanna know what I’d change about myself? / Do you really wanna know who’s been messing with my health?'
"Stylistically, ‘Do You Really Wanna Know?’ stands out quite a bit on this album. We love a rock song that chuggs along but this one is really groove-based. There’s just something else to it, it gives a different palette to what we do and I think that’s really important on the album - not everything feeling the same. It’s incredibly relevant to the album title, because it’s about sort of hiding in plain sight and hiding your mindset. I wrote this right in the middle of when I was obsessed about writing about my how my brain had changed and how I was annoyed that I didn’t feel the same and wasn’t on-form anymore. All the problems that brought, this song is basically saying: ‘let’s not talk about that!’. Of course, I'll always put it into a song, I'm obsessed with writing about feelings and things that are complicated."
More of a belter than a rock ‘n’ rave, lead single 'Forever' allows us to delve further into Henry’s mind as he grapples with the fragility of life: 'I’m never going to live forever, why would I even try?' The song brought to its emotional peak through his raw and jagged acceptance that 'Pain is all we have now'.
"I think ‘Forever’ really shows Rory’s talent for creating really big sounding rock music and I remember first hearing Forever and thinking we have to record that, this is the song that will get us signed. We’ve played it live for a long time and haven’t put it out till now, saving it for the album. Playing it live just feels incredible, it kinda carries you and feels super important and I love singing that last line, just shouting it out. One of the first times we played it was in Manchester, and I remember singing the chorus standing on a speaker stack just thinking in that moment: we’re in the best band in the world. It’s pretty cool when a song makes you feel like that".
Open Up Your Head is an auspicious debut that has propelled Sea Girls well onto the pathway to success, providing a steady foundation that leaves plenty of room for the four-piece to further develop their sound within the alt-rock scape. Lovers of this genre will feel comfortable amongst the charming intuitiveness of this album and should definitely keep Sea Girls on their radar.