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ALBUM REVIEW: The San Sebastian – Alive On The Black Sea

the san sebastian

The brothers Crannitch were  the core of the band Leader Cheetah who achieved a modicum of success and critical acclaim across two albums close to a decade ago. Now, after years spent living in different countries, the pair have reconvened as The San Sebastian. Fans of the former will find to still plenty to love about this album, which essentially follows the same climate and landscapes as their previous work.

If time has done anything, it’s taken some of the more brittle and rockier edges off their sound and eased some of the tension that permeated some of their earlier songs. That’s now replaced with breezily strummed guitars that sit somewhere between the lilting, jangly side of R.E.M. and The Byrds and lush keys and strings that only enhance the artier side of their indie pop approach and takes them closer to the more baroque side of a band such as Suede, whose Brett Anderson has always been a vocal comparison. 

There are 60s soundtrack vistas such as the languid ‘Temple Del Sol’ and the shimmery plaintiff refrain of ‘Wave Of Fire’. ‘The Endless Ride’ is polished alt-country, ‘The Little I’ve Learned’ draws on early Ryan Adams and ‘Wildfire’ smokes its way into your memory with its gently insistent melodies.  

The San Sebastian have found a clever, ambitious and seamless way to blend their many influences into this opulent and arch take on Americana and indie music.

Chris Familton

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