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“Paper Crown King”
::: Released 4th September 2006 ::: /

Video for the new single "Signal Sparks" CLICK HERE

Anyone who marvelled at previous Seafood albums couldn’t help being stunned by their intelligence and emotionally scaling sound. Unlike so many bands influenced by leftfield American guitar acts, Seafood brings a unique Anglo sensibility, as well as notable depth, down to the moshpit. At times, however, the band seemed intent on cramming every available space with de-tuned guitars and wonky FX. Nothing wrong with that, but Paper Crown King sees Seafood breathing out and inviting more in. “There’s a lot more clarity with this record,” says signer/guitarist David Line, “we recorded and produced it ourselves in our Walthamstow based studio, Neat Science Laboratories. This time round we’ve actually captured what we sound like live. It’s the best recording of the band yet”.

The album was mixed by their one-time producer, Eli Janney. From the menacing swagger of Between The Noise, the haunting beauty of Time And Tides, to the woozy, psychedelic pop of How You Going to Live Without Me, resplendent with drummer Caroline’s gorgeously fragile vocals, Paper Crown King is a sparkling assortment of heavy guitars, sophisticated melodies and intelligent lyrics.

Paper Crown King follows on from 2004's critically acclaimed album As The Cry Flows. Whilst it was a good year for the band musically, it was one David would rather try to forget. An attempt at touring the record around the time of its release was cut short when David’s lung began collapsing. When it collapsed for the seventh time during a German concert, he ended up spending a week in a Frankfurt hospital. On returning to the UK, and despite having had numerous surgical procedures, David spent a further ten months in and out of hospital as Doctors tried to figure out why his lung was still collapsing. The impact of his debilitating illness haunts his thoughts and lyrics too. On “Signal Sparks” he yells “don’t forget you are living” with as much joy as wearisome despair. “In the end,” says David, “doctors had to superglue my lung into my chest. I’m a walking miracle.”

“Excellent … Think Pavement and the side of Sonic Youth that knew how to smile. What must irk David Line and company is that they have consistently made better records than many of their heroes. This album continues their strong run” – The Eye (The Times) ****

“Their finely crafted songs shine through” – Independent

“A stunning collection of noise and beauty” – Q ****

“A gloriously bittersweet record” – Observer Music Monthly

“Stepping out of the noise, they’ve discovered a talent for emotionally resonant melodies, tinkling and hypnotic grooves of delicate yet angry rock, never losing sight of the song … they’re standing tall with this LP” – Time Out

“Shimmering with majesty … Seafood are masters of understated, lo-fi rock that never strays into self indulgence.” - Rock Sound – 8/10

“’As The Cry Flows’ is the sound of a band falling back in love with melody” --Logo ****

“A very fine record indeed” – Record Collector

“This album is a magnificent inclusion to any balanced record collection and should be obtained by any means possible” – CMU Update

Some bands celebrate a decade together with ‘best of’ comps and retrospectives. Others, such as Home Counties ‘post-grunge’ quartet Seafood, do birthday celebrations rather differently. Instead of looking back they’re going forward with the best album of their career. “I don’t normally listen to our records once they’re recorded,” says singer and guitarist, David Line, “but with out new record I keep going back to it again and again.”

The record in question, Paper Crown King, is Seafood’s fourth and one of the best alt.rock epics you’ll hear this year. David believes that lack of ‘industry’ pressure enabled Seafood to concentrate and focus. This doesn’t mean his band have alighted upon self-indulgent territories. Instead Paper Crown King is a 24-Carat-pop-album in the best possible sense. Tracks such as forthcoming single ‘Signal Sparks’, ‘Little Pieces’ and ‘Paper Crown King’ all deserve to be garlanded on MTV alongside lesser US alt.rock exports.

“I think previously, our albums were never fluid or constant,” says David. “We would have to put in a country song next to an indie song next to a more typical Seafood song. This is easier to follow and, hopefully, could be the album to break us through.”

Success has unfortunately eluded such a patently talented band. Seafood were formed on 31st August, 1996 by David and guitarist Charles MacLeod (later replaced by Kevin Penney). The pair advertised for a female bassist and male drummer in classified magazine Loot and ended up with a female drummer, Caroline Banks, and male bassist Kevin Hendrick. For all concerned, it all worked out. By their fourth gig at London’s Highbury Garage, they had signed to Fierce Panda records. By the release of “Scorch Comfort”, a noisy but melodic track that was oddly compared to both Sonic Youth and Bis, Seafood garnered much music press attention. This was followed by the release of “Psychic Rainy Nights” on Kooky records, and “Porchlight” on Fierce Panda. All of these singles were eventually compiled with their b-sides on the Messenger in the Camp mini-album in 1998.

During this fertile period Seafood enjoyed successful tours with Kenickie, the “Panda in a Vanda” label tour with Billy Mahonie and Tiny Too, and support slots for Laptop, Grandaddy and Dawn of the Replicants, amongst others. The rigors of soundchecks and touring meant they were well primed for recording their debut long-player, Surviving the Quiet (1999). Produced by Ian McCutcheon, the album united sprawling noise interludes with flutes, cellos and acoustic guitars. At its most vituperative, it sounded like Dinosaur Jr crawling out of piled-up car wreckage. At others Seafood displayed careful restraint and sensitivity and, above all, tunes to write home about it.

It lead to Mushroom records off-shoot Infectious signing the band, giving them bags of cash and putting them in a top flight studio with Girls Against Boys member, Eli Janney The resulting second LP, When Do We Start Fighting... (2001) featured guest appearances from Mary Lorson of Madder Rose / saint Low and Scott McLoud of Girls Against Boys. A preceding single, Cloaking, received airplay on BBC Radio 1 by Steve Lamacq who, curiously, opted for the demo version of the song. Further singles including "Splinter" and "Western Battle" followed in December 2001 and March 2002, but the album is best noted for the slowburning anthem “People Are Underestimated”. Here Seafood bought a woozy dream pop afterglow to their climbing lo-fi blizzards.

David has happy memories of this period as a “time we were allowed to travel the world”. And indeed they did, as well as loading up coaches with My Vitriol and label-mates Ash, 2002 saw them hook up with Dashboard Confessional and Jimmy Eat World. “We were given a lot of money by Mushroom and they really loved us as a band,” says David, “but I think we were wise to invest that money in our studio”. Based in Walthamstow, Neat Science Laboratories provided Seafood with both a money-saving and creative haven. It also provided the band with solidity after one of David’s lungs collapsed and his health deteriorated. “As I’m tall and thin it means my lungs are really stretched,” says David. “It probably didn’t help that I was a heavy smoker. Whilst on tour in Germany I had this constant back pain. I went into a hospital for an X-ray and the next thing I know I’m in an emergency operating theatre. It’s taken me two years to fully recover”.

As the Cry Flows was recorded slowly with producer Ian McCutcheon at the end of 2003 and released in May 2004 by Cooking Vinyl. An attempt at touring the record around the time of its release was cut short when David’s lung problem flared up again. If there was any consolation, this period has resulted in David’s most emotionally candid and rewarding lyrics. If the wordplay was even more thoughtful, so was the music. As the Cry Flows shows Seafood have broad musical minds to match the big guitars. Critics began throwing verbal somersaults as Seafood sounded very revelatory indeed. The Times (London) marveled how “much of the racket has been shaved from the surface of the mix to reveal sinuous, taut tunes”. Q magazine correctly identified how “their third album sees them finally blossoming into a band of delicate talent”. While the Observer Music Monthly crowed that it was “a gloriously bittersweet record”.

Although Paper Crown King sees a return to their former stealth, it retains the subtlety and soul that made the predecessor so spellbinding. The impact of David’s debilitating illness continues to haunt his thoughts and lyrics too. On “Signal Sparks” David yells “don’t forget you are living” with as much joy as wearisome despair. “In the end,” says David, “doctors had to superglue my lung into my chest. I’m a walking miracle. ” In the end, though, what didn’t kill him only made David and Seafood stronger.

Despite the grim subject matter, Paper Crown King is surely the equivalent of the weather finally breaking. “This is my favourite album because it was so satisfying making your own thing,” he says, with real pride. “I think we took longer to record this album than any other. It was so satisfying sending it off to New York to be mixed – we knew we’d done it.”

Paper Crown King was mixed by their one-time producer, Eli Janney. “He’s amazing,” says David, “we flew out to hear the tracks he’d mixed and I’ve clear memories of going up the Empire State listening to those songs on our iPods. He’d done such a fantastic job. Eli himself couldn’t believe we’d recorded it on a 16-track.”

Since the satisfying time recording Paper Crown King, though, there have been changes to Seafood’s main players. Bassist Kevin Hendrick has decided to quit to concentrate on projects outside of the band. After ten years of touring and recording, it can sometimes appear routine and run-of-the-mill. David thinks otherwise. “In some ways Seafood is actually a different place to be in,” he says. “Outside of the band we all have different off-shoot projects on the go. I record on my own; Caroline has her own stuff out there too. It means when we reconvene to make a record, it still feels fresh.”

The genius of Paper Crown King makes that abundantly clear. Seafood are a hidden national treasure with history on their side and a classic new album in the bag. Here’s to another ten years.

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SEAFOOD - Biography
New Album "As The Cry Flows" (COOKCD295)
Released 3rd May 2004

In 2001 that Seafood released their second album "When Do We Start Fighting..." and toured extensively through that year and the next, through Europe, USA and the UK, culminating in their biggest sell-out headline show at London's Electric Ballroom in 2002. That same year Seafood split with guitarist and old friend Charles Macleod due to musical problems and drug differences. Naturally Charles emigrated to Canada.

Cue old friend Kevin Penney formerly of melodic post rockers Billy Mahonie, and cue a baptism of fire. Before he could say yes, Kev was playing three nights at Shepherds Bush Empire and flying straight on to two nights at The Ambassadors in Dublin, followed by performances in a packed tent at Glastonbury (a band highlight of 2002) and at the V Festival. Kev P then said yes.

A manic 2002 was topped with the Livid Festival tour and a headline tour of Australia and New Zealand, where the band acquired an enthusiastic new fan base. A single "Cloaking", secured heavy rotation on National Radio Station, Triple J, and "When Do We Start Fighting." topped Triple J's Hit List and garnered gushing reviews in the national press.

In 2003 the band built Neat Science Studios and moved in for the whole year to write album number three. It was a busy year behind the scenes as the band changed record labels . And then David nearly died! Rejoicing surgery, morphine and six weeks in hospital, David bounced back. From December 2003 to January 2004, Seafood relocate to the foggy Doghouse Studio, on a river in the Oxon countryside and record "As the Cry Flows" with the production team of Ian McCutheon and Mark Van Hoen.

"As the Cry Flows" heralds a broader, braver direction, containing piano, Hammond and Wurlitzer played by Ed Harcourt, plus pedalsteel guitar, synthesisers and gong. Seafood have always loved melody and dynamic, now they have honed the intensity that was always there and have made a cohesive album with each song an illustration making up a bigger story.

Lyrically (all lyrics will be displayed in the sleeve artwork for the first time) ,David Line has found a new confidence, reflecting the bands weirdest year yet. The result is Seafood's richest and most direct sounding album yet, which is best summed up by Davidhimself: "Previously we hid our songs behind the noise. Now we are hiding the noise behind the songs".

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Photographs: Joe Dilworth
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