Death At Sea – Drag / Selfless (single) (Kissability)
The debut release from new Liverpudlian 5-piece Death At Sea comes in the form of a double A-side single featuring the tracks ‘Drag’ and ‘Selfless’.
It’s quite fitting that Death At Sea should release their single through Kissability, a new cassette label from the Transgressive label (Foals, Pulled Apart By Horses etc.) and Jen Long (BBC Radio 1) – after all, ‘Kissability’ is of course the name of a song on the classic Sonic Youth album, ‘Daydream Nation’ from 1988.
‘Drag’ opens with a riff and vocal reminiscent of The Cribs meets Sonic Youth. ‘Drag’ is a catchy, mid-paced and number with a lo-fi, no-frills set-up of bass, guitars and drums. Instead of the standard verse-chorus-verse-chorus pop formula, ‘Drag’ uses the hook “when he’s with her, she bleeds glitter” at the start of each line, which acts in lieu of a traditional chorus. And it works. Death At Sea manage to give “pop” a twist with a clever arrangement and interesting use of dynamics including bass-driven verses, and a mellow, melodic middle section before the guitars kick back in.
When ‘Selfless’ first begins it has an almost identical melody, vocally and instrumentally, to its flip-side. Luckily that changes fairly quickly. A more up-beat and slightly more aggressive track again recalling The Cribs, Sonic Youth as wella touch of Ash and Teenage Fanclub, ‘Selfless’ is a lo-fi grunge number, which sounds like it’s been sitting in a time capsule marked 1995.
‘Selfless’ also has all the lyrical angst of the grunge era; just as the line “You’re fucking bringing me down” is sung, the song drops into half-time rhythm for the chorus before picking up the pace again for the verse. And just like ‘Drag’ before it, ‘Selfless’ gives complacent “pop” songwriting a kick up the ass.
A nifty and impressive debut.
Listen to both tracks below.