Seafret—Tell Me It’s Real [Finely Tuned]
After two EPs, a few singles, and a long wait, Seafret finally dropped their debut album, Tell Me It’s Real. It was everything their fans had wanted from the indie pop duo—soulful, passionate, and rife with emotion. Vocalist Jack Sedman and guitarist Harry Draper stuck to their roots while giving rise to an album that paints a beautiful picture of raw unadulterated emotion and passion. The tracks showcase fine North-Eastern blues that provide for some great comfort listening. The duo met while performing at open mic nights and got together to self-produce an EP that sold out within weeks.
This debut album has everything you would want from a folk album—held together strongly by some powerful lyrics and catchy rhythm sections. Most of the songs tackle lovelorn themes that create a mellow and sombre listening experience. The soft lyrics and soulful guitar patterns bring life into the songs which are then accentuated by the simple drum beats. Many songs on this album will surely be hits at any music festival; thanks to their easy-going nature, making them crowd favourites. The catchy and powerful tunes prove to be the perfect summer soundtrack for every indie pop and folk lover. The album is also profusely romantic at heart. Although the themes are ones which have been explored multiple times before, the band brings a breath of fresh air into their songwriting, that helps elevate the overall lyrical quality of the album.
The Bridlington-based duo has successfully managed to capture love, loss, and longing into one single album. The band first found fame by backing up bands like Hozier, Kodaline, and Jake Bugg in highly successful sold-out concert tours. These influences have stayed with Seafret as their relaxed folk sound has a lot in common with the above-mentioned artists.
The album starts off with the piano ballad, Missing, that sets the tone for what is to come. ‘Is there something that I’m missing?’, sings Sedman on this opening track, as he talks about love, loss, and other adversities. The track is set up nicely by slow acoustic guitars which gradually build into a full-out ballad by the time the chorus arrives. The soft synth that starts off at the chorus really helps elevate this otherwise bare and raw opening track. The layering on this track is impressive as the guitars build naturally into a crescendo.
The following track, Give Me Something, is bare and natural in comparison to the opening track. The stripped back track relies heavily on the harmony provided by the two acoustic guitars and is the perfect track to perform live at an acoustic set. The song captures the spirit of the band and was therefore chosen as the band’s debut single a year before the album came out. The muted beats make sure that the primary focus in this song lies with the strings’ section that wallows and grows effectively throughout the entirety of the song.
Breathe seems to be taken straight off a James Blunt album and is one of the most impressive songs on the album, thanks to its soulful lyrics and raw vocals. The acoustic guitar and the thudding bass lines complement each other beautifully in this otherwise plain track, wilfully capable of moving the listener.
Atlantis, which was released as a single, is one of the strongest tracks on the album, as it perfectly brings together sentience and power. It has an eerie aura about it which is sure to stick with you long after the album has been done with. The eeriness is amplified by the serene and subtle wave sounds that have been effectively used in this track to tell a story about how the relationship being talked about cannot be saved and will sink just like Atlantis once did.
There is a Light, seems apter in a soul record rather than this folk one. It, thus, helps highlight the versatility of the band. The song is more upbeat and uses a slightly more complex time signature when compared to the more melodic and slow songs the album has to offer. The bass lines start to dominate while the acoustic guitar falls to the background in this number, that also showcases the singer’s effective low pitch. This change in style is accompanied by a change in the lyrical structure with this song being far more optimistic than the rest as it talks about the start of a rather hopeful love story.
Beauty on the Breeze, too, is light, upbeat, and perhaps the catchiest song in the whole album. The contrast between the light and dark in the album is showcased very well by these preppy numbers which are sure to be stuck in your head after a couple of reruns. The hook from this song has a very likeable James Blunt feel to it that any ardent listener can easily spot.
Wildfire is an amped-up track that is heavy on the guitar and breaks open like a ray of sunshine amidst dark clouds. The song is, again, more optimistic than the rest of the tracks and relies heavily on Jack Sedman’s raw vocals.
It is surprising that the titular track is the least produced, and yet most likeable track on the album. Once again, it is the vocals that lift the track. The funky and groovy bass-line adds a very 1980s feel to this bubbly track. The vocals soothe and haunt at the same time and Sedman’s vocal ability is put under the spotlight here.
Oceans gained its popularity due to the Game Of Thrones actress Maisie Williams’ presence in the music video. With its heartfelt lyrics and chilling atmosphere, it proves to be a great listen. The song talks about the idea of longing for a lost love and showcases Sedman’s strong falsetto. The use of reverb and the addition of a mandolin segment really help bring about an oceanic aura to this track, bringing justice to the title.
Over is a quiet and reserved track that has slowly crept into the album to create a balancing effect. The similar tracks are separated by this raw and emotional track, and thus, every song gets the space on the album it deserves. The usage of the banjo is to be noted as it gives the song a special upbeat pop melody feel.
Be There is the fastest track on the album and begins with an impressive guitar intro. The energetic strumming and the introduction of the drums drive this power ballad forward at a furious pace. The track helps bring a little bit of spice into an otherwise overly acoustic album, thus providing some much-needed variety. The chorus is bold and interesting and it is once again Sedman’s vocals that power and steer the song.
The final song on the album To The Sea features the vocals of Irish singer Rosey Carney who sounds a lot like Birdy due to her airy falsettos and strong, yet emotional, mid-range pitching. This acoustic treat is the only collaboration on the album and is a beautifully entwined vocal arrangement that proves to be the perfect ending to the record.
The band’s name rightly captures the effect their music has on people. Seafret refers to ‘a mist coming in from the sea‘ and the oceanic elements that have been imbibed in many of the songs highlight the soothing and haunting effect the band’s music has on its listeners. Sedman’s vocals are one of the standouts on this album as they have a raw quality about them that makes the listener relate to every word he sings.
All in all, Tell Me It’s Real is an impressive debut and is bound to leave you wishing for more. The depth and poetic imagery that they have been able to capture through the album is astounding. Seafret has managed to put together a rather genuine album that speaks for itself in many ways. They have spent an enormous amount of time detailing each track to make sure it tells a meaningful story, giving the listener a truly profound listening experience. The songs are sincere and heartfelt and are capable of moving even the least emotional of listeners. The lyrics and melodies stay with you far longer than you would have initially imagined and though it might not sweep you off your feet instantly, it does gradually permeate and gather around you just like the mists from the sea.