[sic] Magazine

Sealight – Dead Letters

Every cloud has a silver lining, the saying goes. If, like me, you have a heavy heart resulting from the loss of the wonderful Trespassers William at least we have Sealight to lift our spirits. Ostensibly a voice and guitar duo (but augmented by synth, bass and occasional brass), the Paris-based Sealight invite comparison to the aforementioned Trespassers principally due to the fragile melancholy of their minimalist pieces. And with former Bella Union owner Robin Guthrie on production duties, the associations run thick and fast. In truth, while likenesses exist, the bands are quite easily distinguishable due to the vocals of Sandra Rossini . In no way could we ever mistake Rossini for Anna-Lynne Williams . Rossini could easily take on traditional folk. And yet there is a haughtiness within her intonations that border upon chamber. The music that backs the voice is for the most part, languid, layered guitars. shimmering, elongated slide guitar that has much more in common with slowcore than, country or post-rock.

The verdict? Well it’s lovely of course, as all its component parts might suggest. For the most part Sealight play it safe. In no way could we call them average but they are distinctly less weird and wonderful than the likes of Glissando or Espen and The Witch . Certainly there are numerous acts operating within similar musical spheres and Sealight will have to go some if they hold ambitions over and above merely matching their peers. The one transcendental moment comes in the form of ‘The Moon’ which flickers and radiates a suitably nocturnal mood. Fans of Lanterna or the legendary Cowboy Junkies will find much to admire here.

Dead Letters five tracks comes in at less than 24 minutes in total. Are they calling it a mini album because in all honesty I’ve heard longer EPs? Come to mention it, I’ve heard longer singles and while many may say that formats are becoming less and less relevant, I believe there is more at stake here than just semantics. A band’s early EP is a showcase, an opportunity to show the world your range and potential. A mini album is exactly what it says, an album in micro format, but an album nonetheless – a collection, a statement, an aural art installation. As an EP, Dead Letters works just fine. Let’s call it that.

Sealight on Bandcamp