Sea Snakes Clear as Day, The Darkest Tools

Sea Snakes Clear as Day, The Darkest Tools
The Sea Snakes are an inventive, ingenious quintet consisting of Kristian Galberg, Jeremy Strachan, Jim McIntyre, Nathan Lawr and Shaw-Han Liem, whose heavenly, heartfelt pop is damn near soul shaking. If any of the band members’ names seem somewhat familiar, it’s because most of these young men have put in some time in bands involved in the hardcore community in and around Toronto. They have connected here to form an achingly lovely ensemble whose sound is only subtly informed by the aggressive tension that bound their post-punk roots. This stunning debut consists of wonderfully inventive arrangements that are guided by McIntyre’s angelic voice and unique instinct as a singer. Something like "It’s Good” conjures the sombre, impassioned work of Michael Stipe circa-Automatic For the People, while one can rightly imagine either Sufjan Stevens or Sade having a go at "Black Phones.” Musically, the band’s intricate guitars, soulful keyboards, jazz-tinged horns, and locked-in rhythm section carry the day, offering up a somewhat more emotionally engaging take on the pioneering sound of bands like Tortoise. Similarly, the Sea Snakes make the kind of sophisticated pop music that feels contemporary yet is timeless in its scope, a hallmark of the music that receives the Three Gut stamp of approval and is sure to appeal to a wide range of listeners.

Why did you decide to work with Three Gut? Guitarist Kristian Galberg: It comes down to working with someone that you have complete faith in and respect and we have that with [label boss] Lisa Moran. We certainly like all of the bands on the label and have been friendly with them, so in some sense, whether or not we fit any kind of musical aesthetic, there is some other type of hard-to-define kinship that we share in how we all conduct ourselves.

How have the Sea Snakes’ roots in the hardcore scene evolved into such a pretty sound? I think the thing that we all share is that, while we were involved with it, it was always just an interest among other interests; it was never a complete devotion to just one style. Jim and I have always been fans of sappy, pretty music; Jeremy’s influenced by weird, 20th century composers; and Shaw-Han’s into a lot of electronic music. So, I think we drew a certain work ethic, a certain conceptual base from the hardcore scene, but aesthetically it was never super important to us. We also kind of joke about how we’ve grown up and at a certain point in your life you don’t want to be screaming into a microphone. (Three Gut)