Welsh band Seazoo’s uplifting sophomore album ‘JOY’ hits with high octane indie pop ready to liven up our days with big melodies, boisterous guitars, and unrelenting energy
Stream: ‘JOY’ – Seazoo
From the moment we press play on Seazoo’s second record, the Welsh band hit us with a swirl of feverish, urgent feeling. Released April 3, 2020 via BIG TERRY, JOY is a bundle of high octane indie pop ready to liven up our days with big melodies, boisterous guitars, and unrelenting energy.
Time – there’s got to be time for this
Rhyme – there’s got to be a rhyme that fits
Make it quick, paint in wonderful
Race, commit and just let it go
Truth; there’s got to be truth to this
It feels good, good to be an optimist
illuminate, make it beautiful
Duplicate and just let it go
This is it remember
The pleasure, the pleasure
Hailing from Wrexham, Wales, Seazoo got their start in the early 2010s, self-releasing their (no longer available) debut EP Ken in 2013. Initially a duo, the band currently consists of Ben Trow (lead vocals, guitar), Dan West (lead guitar), Llinos Griffiths (keys), Mike Smith (bass), and Steffan Owens (drums). Seven years later, the garage-y instincts and noisy energy that ignited their first recordings continue to churn through their newest work.
Energy is a difficult thing for many bands to evoke on record; it’s often hard to recreate the passion of a live performance in a bedroom or tight studio space, yet Seazoo make it seem effortless. Following 2018’s debut album Trunks, JOY finds Seazoo doubling down on their fuzzy, rollicking guitars to provide a soundscape full of exuberance and cheer, might and pure heat.
It’s the apotheosis of nearly a decade’s worth of hard work and determination that establishes Seazoo as a premiere Welsh outfit ready to break out of the box.
In speaking to Seazoo’s co-founder Ben Trow, we not only feel the magnitude of this music, but also the way they are framing the moment.
“For those who aren’t aware of us, we’re really proud that we do as much of this as possible ourselves! We work really hard on it and are excited to finally release the record,” Trow tells Atwood Magazine. “Obviously we’re in unprecedented and uncertain times; the tour we’d booked to promote this has fallen through and we’ve lost out on quite a bit, but we mustn’t dwell on that and can only look forward. It’ll be interesting to see how the industry reacts to the pandemic and if there are any positives at all at the end of all of this. But yeah, a weird time to release a record, especially with the month and months of hard work leading up to it.”
He continues, “We must mention that as well as being proudly DIY, we also work in perhaps a different way to other bands. There is a distinction between the recorded material and the live show. We started out as me (Ben) and Llinos home recording, just getting some tunes down, never intending to play live. However, when we got some exposure we were asked to play and we jumped at the chance, asking some good friends to join us. And that’s how we still do it. The writing and recordings are mainly made by myself, Llinos and Steff the drummer; with Dan and Mike joining us for the live show, which is always fun and full of energy. But there has also been a nice progression in how we do things, and we’ve expanded as and when we’ve needed. So with this record, for the first time, we were able to record most of it in a proper studio. It was amazing! Check out Big Jelly in Ramsgate, UK – it’s class! It is a converted chapel, a large bright space 5 minutes from the sea, and we spent about 5 days there recording all the backing tracks. We did the drums and bass live and then added guitars and keys. We then brought the recordings home to edit and finish off. For me, It was nice getting help with the recording as I could really focus on playing – it was a luxury! I mean, I love recording, but it was nice to take a step back! I think it sounds much better than anything we’ve done before, and I think the tunes are better too.”
Quietly, before it begins
Before the light floods in
A second sits on the lips
Suspended here again
The colour in your hair
Don’t cut it out
The colour that you wear
Just shout about
Can you feel it?
The start of everything
JOY finds Seazoo creating a cohesive and distinct album experience from start to finish. Created with positivity in mind, the album shines bright with the band’s effervescent sounds and songs seeking to capture special moments of time, place, and emotion.
“For this record, I wanted an overarching theme,” Trow explains. “There’s been a great amount of uncertainty over here in the UK for the past couple of years, lots of general darkness in the news. I’ve previously been drawn to darker things for subject matter, but I wanted to push against that. I wanted to explore positivity. I wanted to explore thankfulness. I think the experience in the studio helped shape the record too. The space was large, bright and full of positivity. We were so lucky to have the opportunity. The studio was also miles away from our hometown of Wrexham. We literally had to travel to the other side of the country. I think that aided the sense of escapism that the album has.”
“There was an element of escapism in the writing process for me too. I’d visit the songs everyday and immerse myself in these ideas. It was nice, like popping out for a brisk walk, or a jog. I enjoyed to process. Obviously everything has changed in the past few months. It’s bonkers. But I do think that appreciating what we have is more important than ever. We still need music, we still need things to look forward to. So even though it’s a strange time to release a record I think the album is relevant. I mean, we’ve sent out the pre-orders and are getting so many nice messages. One message particular is from a hospital worker in Italy. They’re going through absolute hell over there right now; but he took time out to message us! He called our music ‘wonderful medicine’. Mad. Everything is moving along nicely, with no pressure. I’m really excited about the next one. I’m learning things all the time and so happy with the new tunes I’ve written recently.”
Seazoo both own and defy their own labels; the band are quirky and noisy, pop-y and rock-y, yet none of these terms fully captures the aura of this unique ensemble. Whether it’s the immediacy of the perfectly-titled album opener “The Pleasure,” or the solemn acceptance and appreciation flowing through album closer “Impossible Sound” – which truly makes for a great, captivating end – Seazoo inject their special charisma and lively force across 33 rabble-rousing, refreshingly entertaining minutes.
JOY is the kind of album people need now, more than ever. It’s an escape and a source of inspiration all in one. Listen from start to finish for the full, thrilling impact.
There’s no denying Seazoo at this impasse: They’re ready to wake us all up, and give us quite a few reasons to smile. Experience the full record via our exclusive stream, and peek inside Seazoo’s JOY with Atwood Magazine as the band go track-by-track through the music and lyrics of their second album!
:: stream/purchase JOY here ::
Stream: ‘JOY’ – Seazoo
:: Inside JOY ::
It’s about my own love for making music and a reminder never to take it for granted. I’m so lucky to have this creative outlet.
I wrote this song while I was out running – never done the before! I was on holiday on the Isle of Skye, in Scotland. So it’s partly it’s inspired by that landscape – in particular a stretch of coastline from Brogaig to Flodigarry that I ran on the 29th of October 2019. I took my phone with me and recorded ideas using the voice memo thing. We’d driven from Glasgow and had arrived the previous night in the dark, so it was amazing exploring this new landscape in the morning. It’s near a place called The Quiraing, the whole place is stunning.
All the roads on that part of the island are single track, with designated passing places, so vehicles can pass each other. So there’s the idea of waiting. Being forced to slow down and think about things – there’s a real pleasure in that. It’s a luxury. Reflection. Something I really appreciate. Again, there’s an escapism to it.
I wanted to simplify the message on this album. I wanted to simplify the song-writing. It’s about appreciating the support that someone can give – if we’re lucky enough to have someone. A partner or family member, a friend – anyone. We’re stronger together!
This was fun to record too! We did the drums and bass live and love how we played on this one – big up Steff! I’ve been friends with Steff since school and we’ve grown up through music and been in bands together forever. I like how the drums and bass fit together on the whole album.
I started thinking about this song when I was in Croatia with Llinos. We were driving back to Dubrovnic from Korcula, returing the hire car before flying home. It was a stunning drive along the coast. It was also their ‘All Saints’ day (I think!), where families honour and remember lost loved ones. We saw families leaving houses everywhere, the cemeteries were really bustling. It’s about memory. It’s about appreciating the happier times. It’s a celebration.
THROW IT UP
A few years ago, friends of ours moved into a van. They sold everything, bought and renovated a van and completely changed their lives. Hats off to them! It’s about people taking action in a quest for happiness. If you’re not happy with what you’re doing then it is possible to start again.
THE START OF EVERYTHING
The moment we wake up each day. It’s about appreciating that. What we have. Who we have.
Remember that feeling when you’re about to go and meet someone? Well, that really. A simple sketch of being young.
I SEE BEAUTY
Started thinking about this at friends wedding – trying to sum up the split second before saying ‘I do’.
It’s a song about the support I’ve had from dad, and also my grandparents. When I was younger my dad and grandparents took me in, and I’ll forever be grateful to them for that. Again, there’s the theme of support in relationships. There’s a real positivity and beauty to selfless acts.
It’s about reflection. It’s about celebration of life. Memory.
:: stream/purchase JOY here ::
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