Review Archive

The Sea Kings – intricate three-part vocal harmony

(February 19, 2015)

Just finished another run through the debut album from The Sea Kings – and one question springs to mind: ‘How did this much talent remain under our radar?’ I’m sure I didn’t fall asleep for The Sea Kings albumcovera couple of years, I’m reasonably certain that hunger and other needs would have woken me. Failing that, my wife would probably have noticed my somnolent frame clogging up the house. Whatever the reason, I now have a chance to correct the omission.

The Sea Kings are a fine acoustic trio, and if like me they haven’t reached your ears, then this is the time you do yourself a colossal favour, go out and buy their album. It will not be a decision to regret. Originally from the mysterious, ancient and myth-laden county of Cornwall, beneath Saint Piran's flag, they now ply their trade in London. Through intricate three-part vocal harmonies, inventive mandolin, guitar and percussion they tell tales about unforgiving seas, legends, rugged coastlines and villages of their native territory.

From the moment ‘Villages’ kicks off you’re soaking up their musical blend of self-penned and tradition. Join their soaring vocal gymnastics celebrating their heritage“… rolling over villages, towns that we know”, before moving seamlessly into the textured, mandolin-driven ‘Rain Rain’. There’s a natural pleasing feel to songs like‘Swim’ and ‘Wolves’, with a venture into darker traditional tales with ‘The Ship in Distress’ and ‘The Two Sisters’ and a typically English, rustic-tinged melodic quality in‘Carry’ and ‘Lyonesse’.

The Sea Kings are James Wills (vocals, guitar), Joe Holtaway (vocals, mandolin) and Jake Alexander (vocals, percussion, cello) - you can find the band and their debut album here: theseakings.co.uk. 

This music could come from nowhere other than these isles and should the slightest pause cross your mind about a three-part harmony group using, what on the face of it looks like a simple instrumental package, fear not, you’ll love it.

Reviewer: Tim Carroll

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