Commonwealth Connections: Seafret

Seafret - Tell Me It's Real

“Reflections in the water help to clear my mind, stretching out before me to the other side. We didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye. Give me something to live for, something to die for.”

Do you ever experience one of those moments where a completely random tune suddenly bursts into song in your head?  Do you ever wonder where this song came from, and why it is haunting you non-stop now?  Of course, it happens all the time to everyone, right?  Well, for me and the vast catalog of songs that are filed away in the dark recesses of my mind, there truly is nothing worse when a song comes out of nowhere and leaves me struggling for the longest time to identify it.  Attempts to hum along do not work.  Attempts to recall lyrics or choruses often fail.  And then, when least expected (in this case, while driving to the office), recollection of the artist occurs and suddenly a huge weight has been lifted.

If anybody was able to decipher the artist from the lyrics at the top of this article, your knowledge of this particular band is far superior to mine.  For those who are drawing blanks, these lines are from a song titled “Missing,” recorded in 2016 by a British duo named Seafret.  So why is a Canadian music blog making references here to a folk act from across the pond?  (Editor: Perhaps because half of Team GDW is from across the pond?) While it is probably impossible to determine why this song gnawed away at me, I can source the most probable reason being that I first heard Seafret earlier this year on CBC radio. Having never heard of this band, and making an incorrect assumption that this was a Canadian act, I sourced their “Tell Me It’s Real” album from the UK and quickly became fond of their unique indie-folk-pop music.

Hailing from the English coastal town of Bridlington, Seafret are comprised of vocalist Jack Sedman and guitarist Harry Draper.  Riding the coat tails of the resurgent indie-folk scene both in the UK and North America, from the very first listen of this album it is easy to detect the influences.  Similarities can be drawn to the likes of Kodaline and Mumford & Sons, two artists that originated at a grassroots level before commercial success came calling due to mainstream audiences embracing this ‘new’ sound.

Drawing inspiration from their coastal Yorkshire roots, tracks such as “Oceans” and “Atlantis” not only reflect a fascination with the sea, but have lyrics that emphasize a strong sense of nautical romanticism. But these are not sea-shanties; instead these are well crafted and melodic folk-rock tunes. Go ahead and listen to the likes of “Breathe” and the outstanding “To The Sea,” where the addition of Rosie Carney’s vocals turn this into an amazing duet that closes out the album.

Having returned to this album over the last few days, there were several tracks to which I found similarities with some of their US and Canadian contemporaries too.  Not only would I consider both “Wildfire” and “Skimming Stones” to be two of the dominant tracks on this album, but I sense a strong resemblance to the sound and style of Calgary’s Reuben and the Dark.  Spinning the CD once more, the up-tempo arrangements and Sedman’s vocals on “Beauty On The Breeze” draw comparisons to the music of The Strumbellas and their vocalist Simon Ward.  And as for the title track, “Tell Me It’s Real” shares many positive traits with the US folk-rock act, The Lumineers; another band that has found commercial success popularizing the indie-folk genre on this side of the ocean.

Drawing comparisons with their North American contemporaries are not meant to undermine the originality of Seafret, but rather to demonstrate just why I quickly gravitated to their sound.  With their fresh take on this (now much more so) revitalized genre, Seafret are writing and performing some wonderful original material that deserves to be heard.  Kudos to CBC radio for not only sharing this artist with their Canadian audiences, but for bringing them to my attention too.  Having listened to this CD several times over the last few days, I actively encourage any fans of The Lumineers, The Strumbellas and Reuben and the Dark to add Seafret to their listening pleasures too.

~ M

Visit Seafret’s website.

Listen to “Tell Me It’s Real” on Spotify.

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