Blaze Away with Sea Lions' Joyously Stoned Debut Album

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Listen to this while high: Sea LionsEverything You Always Wanted to Know About Sea Lions But Were Afraid to Ask.

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Behind the buzz: These D.I.Y. brats outta Oxnard with a nice line in spirited tunefulness impressive enough for the reliably tasteful people at Oakland's Slumberland Records to release the derivatively titled debut album Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sea Lions But Were Afraid to Ask. Occupying flackery invokes the grab-bag asymmetry of Lou Reed, Sun Ra, Syd Barrett, and Orange Juice, a compound that evokes a broad spectrum of neo-pop and narco-noise. The album drops Dec. 22.

Today's weed: Fire O.G.


Scenes from a Dayglo Ventura County: "Intro" is a tasty 34-second lagniappe preceding the gentle maelstrom of "I Should Be Sleeping," which acquits the Syd Barrett namecheck admirably in its winsome goofiness. Frontman Adrien Pillado's voice puts me in mind of the amiably gosh-wow smartass inflections Eddie Argos brings to Art Brut. "Grown Up" and "Tell You" are both ventures into sunshine pop yesteryear, and "A Cloud" sounds like one of Jonathan Richman's coyer sentiments painted over with fructose. "Look" is tuneful and swathed in the most rarefied melancholy, like some joint Bob Lind or The Cryan Shames might've rolled back when LBJ hauled up dogs and aides alike by their ears. "Rainfall" marks this album as too relentlessly cheery to acquit the Lou Reed comparison, but ends in a nice splatter of wet pet sounds anyway. The chiming riff of "I Don't Wanna Go Out" and surf rock sheen of "I Loved Her So Much" are delights to any THC-sensitized ears and "What's the Point?" flashes by with a rattle of tambourine. "Running in Circles" is scarcely long enough to complete any arc, but "Untitled (Guitar)" is a nice sourball instrumental dropped in this assortment box of sweetmeats. "My Girl" is unpretentious lament, "As Times Change" a confession of learned helplessness, and "A Song for Your Smile" plays us out with a moody twilight surf instrumental that begins all romper stomper and ends in a snakish rattle of tambourines.

Psychoactive verdict: Hard to believe they get this high in Oxnard.

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