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Sea When Absent

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Album Review

The release of A Sunny Day in Glasgow's fourth album, Sea When Absent, brought with it some major changes in the way the band operate. It's their first album to be made in a studio with a real producer; their first where the group's usual mastermind Ben Daniels removed himself from the day-to-day recording process (thanks to his living on a different continent), and the first where Daniels didn't write the vocal melodies and lyrics. Philadelphia mainstay Jeff Ziegler recorded the band, longtime ASDIG member Josh Meakim took over as the chief architect of sound with help from bassist Ryan Newmyer, and vocalist Jen Goma stepped into the role of lyricist. More importantly than all of this, the band decided to strip away much of the reverb and effects that their records always had as their main focus. Sea When Absent is the group's most direct, most melodic, and easiest-to-get-a-full-grasp-on album yet, and it works just as well as anything they've done. Though Daniels may have stepped back a bit, the record still holds true to the band's diffuse and difficult shoegaze approach, while taking full advantage of the facets the new way of working provides. The clearer sound allows Goma and co-vocalist Anne Fredrickson to shine, whether singing in sweet, ringing leads or twining together in angel-pure harmonies. The focus on melody and the simpler arrangements help the songs to have more emotional impact than ever before, and Sea When Absent reaches some truly epic levels of feel on tracks like "Never Nothing (It's Alright [It's OK])" and "MTLOV (Minor Keys)." Despite the changes that resonate throughout the album, there's nothing going on that would chase away a fan of their earlier work. It's still dense and challenging, still packed with surprising sonic feints and shifts, still overloaded with great songs that nod back to the glory days of shoegaze, but it sounds fully up to date and not in the least derivative. Best of all, it's the work of a band who refuse to sit still and churn out the same record time and time again. Just as they did on their best album, Ashes Grammar, the band takes risks and makes leaps, and the results on Sea When Absent prove that they are one of the best, most interesting under-the-radar bands of their era.

Customer Reviews

Hawai'ian Summer

I first listened to this record in full while driving 80 mph on the big island's main highway... I must say: this record is the PERFECT summer soundtrack... Take it from someone who lived the sunshine in the music


Great album. One of my favorites of 2014. Lots of different psychedelic elements. Sounds nice. I like "Golden Waves" the best.

Thank you!

This I album was a welcome surprise to a band that I thought hung it up. Great mix of sounds and solid progression from your other albums. Love it... Thanks guys!


Formed: 2006 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

A Sunny Day in Glasgow emerged in the mid-2000s with synth-laden experimental noise pop that echoed shoegaze acts like My Bloody Valentine, but gave the sound their own interpretation. The band formed when Philadelphia native Ben Daniels returned from a few years in the U.K. and began recording songs with vocal help from his sisters Lauren and Robin. They put some of the tracks together and released them as an EP called The Sunniest Day Ever in March 2006. The EP charted at number one on New York's...
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