Our Band of December 2014: Sea Pinks
Touch of dream – Sea Pinks
Living a real life. It’s sometimes helplessly bitter and painful, and that’s exactly why it can also be blessed and joyful. Spending most of my time just to cope with my own life, I sometimes stop to see how far I’ve come. Then I can’t help thinking in blank surprise: what have I got now? Is this really what I wanted?
When I was a little girl, I was always eager for the vaguest sorts of things: an alley I’ve never been to; an accessory shop no one else knows; a café my mother secretly took me to; beautifully wrapped boxes in the shop window. I didn’t care where they were or what was inside. I must have been searching for the entrance to lead me to somewhere different. After all though, I wonder where those childhood fancies have gone and if I have managed to replace the uncertainty with something solid.
I visited Belfast for the first time seven years ago, at almost exactly the same time of the year as now. The city was fringed with delicate white lights and there was even the big wheel in the front garden of the City Hall along with the Christmas market. Every pub and café I went in was filled with light laughter and warm, wet air. It was a rain sodden city which was stuffed with my childhood dreams.
Sea Pinks, a band from very Belfast, started as a solo project of a talented musician Neil Brogan, who has always attracted much attention in Belfast music scene. Several years after its birth, Sea Pinks became a three piece and that added further stability and consistency to their music.
Released in September 2014, their lightly swinging fourth album “Dreaming Tracks” certainly displays Neil’s musical progress and potential as a full band. Just as titled, it’s full of velvety, slightly sombre, dreamy pop tunes. Although I don’t know Neil in person, I’d imagine him as somewhat bluntly innocent, moody and cynical, if his tunes faithfully reflect him.
No need to mention the opening track ‘Dream Happening’ or the title track ‘Dreaming Tracks’ in particular, it’s obvious that this album successfully weaves a skilfully detailed dream world of its own. As the album opens with a distant sound of the cello and listeners follow the magical strings, they stray into the world before they know it. Once caught by the album’s sound, the listener is bound to dream their own individually different dream there.
In my own dream, there is someone I’d see: Panda Kopanda, the band who led me to Belfast. They’re the band who certainly existed in Belfast that night seven years ago. They welcomed me, muffled me up in their music and showed me their city. I have probably fallen in love with a countless number of bands from Belfast since then, but without any doubt, it was Panda Kopanda who opened the door for me. Sadly though, I can’t see the original Panda Kopanda on stage anywhere but in my dream anymore.
I’m not groundlessly being nostalgic here. It’s actually Jonny Agnew, the guitarist of Panda Kopanda, who plays the foregoing cello in “Dreaming Tracks”. Also, the stronger connection is the Sea Pinks’ drummer David Agnew, Jonny’s brother and the drummer of Panda Kopanda. It’s definitely more than natural for me to feel happy to meet my favourite musicians again via Sea Pinks.
Don’t get me wrong though. I would never wish to claim that Panda Kopanda are part of Sea Pinks’ music. That’s not fair, or simply not right. The two bands are just so different. If I still dream of Panda Kopanda through Sea Pinks, it’s probably just because I’m mesmerised and confused by the realistic dream which Sea Pinks created with their music somewhere just one alley away from the real world.
I remain totally lost in Belfast as I constantly encounter fascinating bands like Sea Pinks. That’s okay for now. I want to forget about the reality, want to immerse myself in the dreamy sound and don’t want to wake up yet. written by C. Tenkawa
Sea Pinks – Dream Happening