It seems that, as I grow older, there’s fewer and fewer punk bands and records that really manage to grab me and hold my interest, let alone make me feel how my favourite punk records in my teens and early twentys did. Thankfully, Skin And Bones, the debut EP from Seasight, bucks that trend. These four songs hit me in the same place that the likes of Hot Water Music and Small Brown Bike did when I was eighteen; emotional but rough; melodic and catchy without being too poppy. They’re not doing anything too different to the likes of Title Fight and Trophy Eyes, but what they do have is some damned good songs, and a charmingly rough underground edge.
“Blunder” begins the EP, and within seconds the strengths of the band are on show: melody, energy, and a great catchy, pop side – the band describe themselves as “aggressive pop punk”, and that’s not too bad a descriptive, though I would hasten to add that their sound has more maturity and intelligence to it than any connection pop punk would normally indicate. Lyrically, there’s a definite emo influence, with tales of loss, confusion, and heartache, but again, it’s handled with maturity – it never comes across as self-pitying or pretentious in the way even the best emo-influenced bands can at times.
The band really shine when they let their ear for melody take prominence, though. The riffs themselves tend to be bright and catchy, albiet with a bit of a punch, and the rhythm section underpin things well and give the songs power and weight, it’s when they let the guitars shine that they really demonstrate their strengths. They don’t over-play this though, and know when to slow things down and vary the tempo and emphasis. Such moments show that they know how to construct a good song, with clever use of dynamics to really help hammer the emotion home – the ending of “Dirt” even makes me think of some of the stuff Touché Amoré have done.
There’s a few points I’m not entirely sold on, though. Closer “Rendezvous” is a slow burner that, whilst still worthwhile, doesn’t quite reach the heights it is clearly aiming for – I can’t help but feel that it reaches its conclusion too soon, or that it might be a bit more effective coming at the end of something longer than an EP. Likewise, the vocals can sometimes feel like they dominate the mix, being something of a rough sing-shout that, whilst suiting the music very well (it’s a style employed by practically every band I’ve heard that play this kind of punk rock) can take a bit of getting used to at first. I wouldn’t change them though, just don’t let them put you off on your first listen.
Even considering these points though, this is a great EP that succeeds in doing something too few punk records do anymore, in both keeping me interested when listening, and making me feel young again – and isn’t that later point what punk rock should really aim to do? Seasight are definitely a band worth following, as with a little refinement they could create something really special; but in the meantime, Skin And Bones is still a melodic punk release that is definitely worth checking out.
Skin And Bones is available to stream and download through Bandcamp.