Seafood : When Do We Start Fighting…

American indie. But from Sheffield

If ever there was a band cursed with bad luck and worse timing, it’s Seafood. First, there’s the terrible name. Then their lilting, gloriously haphazard debut album, ‘Surviving The Quiet’, was smothered by bands with bigger mouths and better quotes (ie Terris). And time away hasn’t improved the situation much. Their endearingly old-fashioned notion of what a band should be about (bad haircuts, ‘worthy’ record collections, being skint in the name of art) has never been as out of place as it is right now. And, of course, the irony of it all is they’ve just gone and made the best album they’re ever likely to.

Recorded in Brooklyn, New York, ‘When Do We Start Fighting…’ sees Seafood move beyond sheer admiration of their American heroes (Sonic Youth, Pavement) to try to compete with them, using their devotion as a springboard rather than a full stop. This time around, they’ve even bought a sampler and dragged their love affair with the guitar up to date, acknowledging the power of subtlety. The unhinged six-string fury that so often characterised their best moments before has given way to reveal a band who write great songs when no-one is looking.

Opener ‘Cloaking’ is typical of Seafood’s new self-assurance, rattling through its shouty refrain and pure pop punch with all the off-hand cockiness of The Breeders. That’s balanced (notably in the gorgeous ‘What May Be The Oldest’) by the tenderness of frontman David Line’s lyrics, a singer who’s only just realising the character of his voice.

Unfortunately no-one will sing Seafood’s praises from the rooftops. But that only makes discovering this all the more special.

Siobhan Grogan