Words by Alexandra Dominica
Ah psych-pop…Harpsichords, sitars, fuzz guitars, reverse recording, and Beach Boys harmonies married together with pop, culminating in gorgeous melodically ornate songs. Hailing from London’s underground neo-psych scene, the baroque honey-drenched Green Seagull return from the ether again bringing us a myriad of delights in their recently released album ‘Cloud Cover’.
Arriving in 2016, the 4-piece formed when Paul Nelson (New Electric Ride) approached Paul Milne (Hidden Masters/Magnetic Mind) to work on a project. With a shared predilection for late-60s baroque psychedelia and 12-string jangles shortly the songwriters united together, and to this day they’re still going strong with a dedicated UK and European cult following. Joined shortly after by Sarah Gonputh on keys and Elian Dalmasso on drums, the quartet quickly recorded a demo in their rehearsal room on an old cassette 4-track. Consequently, the lo-fi recordings produced found their way into the laps of Mega Dodo Records, who without hesitation signed the band for a record deal.
Experimenting with contrapuntal melodies and functional harmony patterns, ‘Cloud Cover’ is an ambitious and stylistically broad venture that follows their widely praised 2018 number ‘Scarlet Fever.’ Beginning with the buoyant rhythms of “Aerosol”, which framework being owed to drummer Elian Dalmasso also fuses the sound structures of The Kinks, Strawberry Alarm Clock and The Zombies to name a few. Green Seagull showcase their musical breadth and scope throughout with an enviable arsenal of 60s and 70s psych influences. Here we have a cognoscenti with a forensic understanding of 60s pop construction that feels and sounds effortless, with both sharp and subtle chord changes alongside hauntingly euphoric and dreamscape lyricism.
“Made to be Loved” stands out here as a grooving catchy 12 string jangle with a late 60s New York Baroque sound, think The Magic Plants/Left Banke/Stories. They’re so authentic and embellished with vintage nuance, you’d hear this in a bar and think they were an obscure long-forgotten 1960s collective – and be very surprised when Shazam informs you their vinyl came out yesterday, and they’re only down the road.
Their deeply entrenched love for 60s experimental eclecticism is clear as the playful psych adventure continues into the “Little Lady in the Amplifier”, a West Coast beachy melodic boardwalk with psychomimetics echoing the vocals of Brian Wilson. “This Wheel” is it’s darker counterpart that faces the listener with a ‘cold winters morning’ allowing the stinging nostalgic timbre of the moody keys to take centre stage. Pink Floyd, SuperTramp, 70s prog all tied up with a psych-power pop bow.
Quintessentially English and with such an acute sense of identity – they are evidently leaving behind less desirable tropes of retromania/pop-pastiche. We’re certain that Green Seagull will find themselves recognised among their contemporaries which is exactly where they need to be. Above the cloud cover, among the stars, propelled into the burgeoning London Psych scene’s stratosphere and beyond.
‘Cloud Cover’ was released on the 31st July 2020 on Mega Dodo records
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