Seafret, a north-eastern duo who met playing at open-mic nights, play finely tuned folk songs....

Seafret, a north-eastern duo who met playing at open-mic nights, play finely tuned folk songs. Their music feels heartfelt and thoughtful, but occasionally slips into rehashing old platitudes.

Tell Me It’s Real is romantic at its heart. When singer Jack Sedman croons “in this heart of mine, love’s working overtime”, he’s not exaggerating. His lyrics burst with intense tenderness, sensitively detailing being both in and out of love.

While the album traverses tried and tested ground for love songs, Seafret’s song writing breathes fresh air into these topics. The songs are packed full of metaphors, but even with gentle lines such as “I’m like a skimming stone waiting to be sent back to you”, the lyrics avoid being a collection of romance truisms.

At its worst, this album verges towards sounding a bit like a second-rate Mumford and Sons. There’s too many over-enthusiastic yet drab guitar build ups. The first song on the album, ‘Missing’, falls into this trap, despite beginning with promisingly pretty piano chords. As the song drifts on, it becomes more tediously non-descript.

Despite a disappointing start, the music isn’t not all insipid folk-pop cliches. Some gems shine out of the blandness, such as ‘Tell Me It’s Real’ and ‘Out of Nowhere’. These songs’ sweetly melodic guitars sparkle, while Sedman’s aching vocals both soothe and haunt. The tracks, with their unblemished harmonies, are refreshing.

Meanwhile, ‘Be There’ is one of the few times where Seafret pull off a pacy tempo. The energetic guitar strumming and the rare introduction of drums power the song, driving it forwards vigorously. It’s lyrics are perhaps the album’s least interesting, and the track occasionally verges on feeling over-produced, but it’s sharp change of tone make it one of Seafret’s most memorable songs.

Seafret also excel at giving their tunes a catchy hook. A prime example is ‘Beauty on the Breeze’, which at first listen recalls the knock-off James Blunt ‘easy listening’ pumped out in coffee shops. However, it will unstoppably get lodged in your head, leaving you humming along for the rest of the day. It’s this catchiness that could give Seafret their mainstream appeal, lifting them out of their indie niche.

While Seafret’s Tell Me It’s Real is nothing radical, it’s a sensitive and delicate pleasure.

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