There’s something to be said for simple, short, and sweet indie pop songs. In a year when Bon Iver went ’80s easy listening on us with “Beth/Rest” and R&B was the en vogue music styling, simple pop songs tend to get lost. Oxnard, California’s Sea Lions make it their mission on their debut, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sea Lions But Were Afraid to Ask, to bring that simplicity back to the forefront.
The record spans 15 songs but clocks in at just under half an hour: Not a single song on Everything… is over three minutes long. It feels more like an old punk record than an indie album in that regard – most of the songs are fast paced as if to fit as much as possible into a short window. Bandleader Adrian Pillado and the rest of the group work their way through their retro surf-influenced blasts of pop with ease. The album never feels emotional in one way or another, but the lyrics run the gauntlet from cute, socially awkward love stories (“Tell You”) to pessimistic outcries (“What’s the Point?”).
Unfortunately, the songs start to run together after a couple listens, as there isn’t much differentiating any given track from the next. The production isn’t the best either, as the vocals sometimes get lost in the mix. But for a young band just putting out their debut album, these things can be pardoned. If they can build upon this debut and learn from their mistakes, Sea Lions might be able to carve out their own cozy corner in the indie world. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sea Lions But Were Afraid To Ask may not answer all of our questions, but it serves as a solid introduction to a promising new band.
Essential Tracks: “Tell You”