The self-titled album from Sea Oleena emerges delicate and ethereal in its aesthetics, but upon closer listen reveals to be mired in a drunken, anti-dream purgatory. Charlotte Oleena describes the album as “three seasons’ worth of endless nights and half-lived days”. The opening track ‘Southbound’ displays a pulsating warble akin to Wilco’s ‘I am Trying to Break Your Heart’, but gravitates towards unease rather than self-pity. Mrs. Oleena sings:
I read the Book of the Dead backwards, and then I made my way to someone with a name-tag for directions to a staircase.
I climbed a flight and realized the century had shifted; I was awe-struck, gaping at the walls
I floated through the marble halls, like some dis-jointed memory thrown across the room.
Ghosts pervade the songs, as niggling specters (‘Sleepless Fever’), furtive advisors (‘Untitled’), and metaphors for the agonist (‘Insomnia Plague’ and ‘Milk’). ‘Insomnia Plague’ would fit nicely on the soundtrack of a new 28 Days Later movie, with the opening line “it’s been 60 days since that black sky opened up the flood gates” and the reprise “don’t be so afraid of the insomnia plague”. Sounding somewhat like last years’ White Hinterland, Sea Oleena is exceptional music for creating an azure atmosphere within which to envelope yourself. But, upon closer examination the restless introspection and fuzzy guile of the album provide much more. This splendid record is available on bandcamp (name your price), and we are featuring two songs from Sea Oleena’s previous album Smudges (available for free on bandcamp).
Check Out: Swimming Story [mp3]
Check Out: Island Cottage [mp3]
Watch: Cold White Sheets
Stream or Download [name your price]: Sea Oleena