Nautically wet pictures soak the audience through the online profiles of this Cornish trio. Since forming several years ago, the group, who are now based in London, have gone on to play the coveted “introducing” slots at two Glastonbury festivals (both 2013 and 2014), as well as providing support for the likes of Chris Wood, and Julie Felix. They’ve been spotted as far north as Gateshead with Joan Armatrading, though their current list of upcoming events seems unfortunately empty. There are, however, rumours of a headline show coming soon to London (date to be confirmed, according to their website), so The Sea Kings seem to be set towards delighting the ears of both young newcomers, and seasoned folk veterans, up and down the country.
The music performed by The Sea Kings comes to live through a vivid imagining of the coastal Cornish villages the members grew up in, performed in their signature almost-barbershop style where three-part vocal harmonies abound. The rhythms and keys are fairly easy to get hold of in most of their songs, but the harmonies resound gorgeously, and it’s no surprise from listening to them that they have been known to perform the odd show completely acapella. An inoffensively simple, but effective, chord accompaniment is usually provided through their material by a mandolin (Joe Holtaway) and guitar (James Wills), giving them a pleasant sound that is easy to enjoy, and relaxing to listen to. The third member of the trio, Jake Alexander, provides percussion through most of their music; however he also pops up as an accompanying cello player as the playlist progresses.
Their debut self-titled album is available now to listen to on their Soundcloud page, as well as to purchase on iTunes, Spotify, and their website. The highlights for me were “On A Beach”, with its talented mandolin playing and interesting rhythm changes complementing a catchy chorus, and a reimagining of the well-known traditional classic of “Two Sisters”. Their album is pleasant, and their current CV impressive, so if lovely vocal harmonies are what you are seeking: go and listen to The Sea Kings.
Review by Simon James Chisholm