Sea Girls – Midnight Butterflies

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Let’s hop in the “way-back” machine and go way back to the early 2000’s. 2006 to be exact. You’re a freshman in high school. You finally got dropped off at the movie theater to see the new comedy movie “John Tucker Must Die” with your date. You got $20 to form your dad for mowing the yard. That means you get popcorn and a drink to share too. Life is good. 

That’s the feeling you get from the latest Sea Girls record Midnight Butterflies. The band is known for their anthemic indie rock songs and extremely high-energy shows. Their latest installment hits both these defining characteristics on the head. It details the entirety of a relationship in a single album.

The group, comprised of frontman vocalist/guitarist Henry Camamile, lead guitarist Rory Young, Andrew Dawson on bass, and Oli Khan wailing on the drums, leans into what they do best. They aren’t trying to push the boundaries of tone or experiment with any new sounds. Sea Girls just rocks.

Midnight Butterflies starts the record with the title track. The opening riff is reminiscent of ‘Use Somebody’ by Kings of Leon but with a lot more energy behind it. It’s a song all about finding a girl that you become absolutely infatuated with. It’s not about love at this point, but it’s drenched in admiration. The powerful chorus “the city lights/in her eyes/with those midnight butterflies” just makes you want to yell with them. It’s inspiring and catchy. 

The second track on the song doesn’t slow down either. ‘I Want You To Know Me’ is where we get the first glimpse of relatability to the beginnings of a relationship. The pre-chorus is so relatable: “You shared your dreams and I said/NOTHING AT ALL!” This is such a sentiment of people who are super into the person they’re talking to, but they can’t get the words out. The chorus’s build right after that hammers this home with the final proclamation of “I want you to know me!”

It’s the third song that we get a drawback on the pure energy and excitement. ‘Come Back To Me’ is digging into the immediate time after a breakup. The opening guitar riff is very light but full of emotion. Layered over the guitar Henry’s vocals start with “I miss/sofa kisses/breaking dishes/all the while wearing you.” Here the group is showing that they have run the gamut of a relationship. The full monte, if you will. The beauty of cute moments on the couch and the intensity of an argument that spurned dishes thrown in anger. At the end of the day though, it just felt right. 

A few tracks later is the most depressing song on the album. In a mildly ironic tone of upbeat musicality, ‘Does Only God Know That We’re Lonely’ is the pinnacle of sad boy anthems. The lyrics are so melancholy, but the musicality contradiction emphasizes how depressive episodes present themselves. “We smile it’s like/it’s like there’s nothing wrong./Does only God know that we’re lonely?” is one of the most powerful choruses that come from this album. The upbeat feel of the song doesn’t fit with the lyrical nature; however, that’s what draws the biggest appeal. As a listener you can belt the chorus, while also truly relating to the content.

‘Scream And Shout’ is the track that follows. It’s the biggest departure from the typical power anthems from Sea Girls. It’s a piano-led song with some of the most powerful lyrics on the whole album. This is the song that is the darkest part of the relationship. The pre-chorus kicks off with, “Everywhere that we go/people say we’re old souls” then leads into a catchy chorus. The emotionally heaviest lyric though is when Henry’s vocals draw on some gritty distortion to say, “But if you go/I lose my hope.” The second verse has what maybe the most emotional part saying “the loudest thing/is the silence without you.” Emphasizing the power of the significant other and the power of the emptiness after they leave. ‘Scream And Shout’ is a total departure from what you would expect from Sea Girls, but it’s one of the strongest songs on the record. 

Nearing the end of the album, Sea Girls is still delivering absolute pop-rock bops. ‘First On My List’ is a track all about admitting how you’re still into your former significant other. It’s a total story of a song about a single fantasy with the person you want the most. Although the chorus is fun and strong, this also has one of the weakest lyrics that feels completely out of place. It says “we could read our books in a night club.” The words are confusing because it feels like it’s just trying to be intentionally quirky. The belting of the last line “and get undressed” a few times for the outro is still fun. But it makes this track feel like it’s a fun moment with intentionally odd lyrics thrown in to make a point of how special the relationship was. Instead, it kind of makes it feel immature. 

The record concludes with a slower, calmer song led by an acoustic guitar. ‘After Hours’ is a song all about how the protagonist of this album is sad about their relationship, but he’ll take whatever he can get to maintain his relationship. He is willing to be the other guy because even though the relationship is over, he still loves her. With the opening line “Am I touching all the right places?” This leads to the chorus “I love you but I know you’re seeing him./I bet he’s touching everywhere I’ve been./Do you think of me/when he’s not around?/We’re driving cars in your direction after hours.” It’s just a powerful declaration that the time together was always special for the album’s protagonist. No matter what, they will pine after what they had together.

All in all, Midnight Butterflies is a great album. The energy that Sea Girls brings to every song, even when it’s covering sad topics, permeates throughout. The mixing of the album overall is incredible. It’s as though it’s mixed musically to appear to alternative and indie rock fans, but the vocals are mixed to sit in front just enough to have the pop sentiment. The only thing that would make this album better is if they did a tour in the United States and came to Texas so I could see them live. But until then, I’ll just keep this album on repeat and watch show recordings on YouTube.

Midnight Butterflies is out on June 14th on all streaming platforms and limited edition vinyl*.

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Lasting Appeal

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