Green Seagull – (I Used To Dream In) Black And White

Front cover, artwork by Sara Gossett

Words by Jack Hopkin

I discovered pretty soon after I first laid ears on Green Seagull’s new single that I, too, used to dream in black and white. Little did I realise that when my resident stork landed this lysergic faberge egg of a single on my lap that I’d fall so head over heels for these fantastic sides of vintage harmony-laden psychedelic pop.

‘(I Used To Dream In) Black And White’b/w ‘Not Like You And Me’ is on Mega Dodo Records in a limited 250-copy run on gorgeous white vinyl – perfect for projecting the glorious colours this single is sure to project. Much like the ‘5000 Spirits’ LP by the Incredible String Band this single almost recoups its value through the beautiful cover art alone, the garish tones reflecting perfectly the magic infused music within. This, however, is to overlook just how excellent these original compositions are.

Back cover, artwork by Sara Gossett

Green Seagull’s firm foot in the experimental spirit of the mid to late Sixties is exhibited through their namesake, a misheard Rolling Stones lyric. Their harmony laden baroque-freakbeat stylings draw upon a roster of influences which includes the Left Banke, the Kinks and the Association. Formed in London in 2016 amidst the burgeoning neo-psych scene, the group’s genesis came about when Paul Nelson (New Electric Ride) approached Paul Milne (Hidden Masters/ Magnetic Mind) to work together on some new compositions. With their shared affinity for late-60’s psychedelia and Byrds-style 12 string pop, the duo quickly became a prolific songwriting duo with a surplus of material which I for one hope to hear in due time based on the merits of their new single. Completing the quartet is Sarah Gonputh on keys and Elian Dalmasso on drums.

Green Seagull, photograph by Camila Nelson

Their debut single, ‘Scarlet/They Just Don’t Know’ was released in June of this year and is very much worthy of your time, drawing as it did such strongly positive reviews from Shindig! Magazine and airplay from Mark Radcliffe, Gideon Coe and Mark Riley on BBC 6 Music. Surely, their new 45 is due to make a similar splash. The performances here are remarkably polished and tight.

What impresses me most is Green Seagull’s ability to recapture a feeling I long thought to be lost to history, given how they easily capture the sound and excitement of a West Coast group from 1967 rather than sounding like a modern day band utilising psychedelic elements purely as retro gimmick. You can tell these musicians are adept but also highly knowledgeable in 60’s music given how they’ve managed to serve up songs which follow the same recipe as tracks from the golden age of psych without sounding formulaic or dated, as such standing proudly amongst the pantheon of many favourites in the genre. The A-side here, ‘(I Used To Dream In) Black And White’ sounds like a blissful marriage between the Byrds of the ‘Younger than Yesterday’ era, particularly with it’s shimmering guitar lines faintly reminiscent of ‘Thoughts and Words’, with the keyboard and harmony led music of the Growing Concern. This easily could be a double A-side given the strength of ‘Not Like You And Me’ which features a killer organ break not unlike that in ‘Found Love’ by the Fly Bi Nites. I love music that is atmospheric and nostalgic, songs that you hear for the first time and wonder how on earth you’ve lasted so long without having heard anything on their level. This is the case with Green Seagull.

Reportedly, this really excellent group have just finished recording their debut album at Sausage Studios and is due for release sometime in the new year. Get your limited edition copy of this single at Mega Dodo Records and savour it as an amuse-guele for what can only be more beautiful thoughts and words from the Green Seagull.

You can purchase the single here

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