In October of 2004 a band called Sea Snakes released Clear as Day, the Darkest Tools on influential Canadian label Three Gut Records. It would be their only release - in less than a year both the band and the label had folded. Members scattered and formed new acts, pursued solo careers or fell silent. In these post-modern times, what happened next is anachronistic. Influential critics started writing about the album and Mediafire links routinely populated message boards dealing in critical music listening. At the end of the 2000’s, esteemed American music writer David Greenwald placed the record at #3 in his top 100 of the decade. Others similarly declared the album in their top 10 of all time. A consensus formed amongst those few who had managed to hear the record. Clear as Day was really, really good and that begged the question: would there ever be any more?
After years in the UK, Sea Snakes principal songwriter Jim McIntyre returned to Canada in 2010 and slowly returned to writing and performing. Working with Marc Stonestreet (drums, guitar, vox) – building houses by day, making music by night - they were joined soon after by Alnis Dickson (bass) and reunited with original Sea Snakes guitar foil Kristian Galberg. After months of rehearsing, the band recorded their self-titled debut with old friend and Clear as Day producer Jeff McMurrich.
From the album’s opener Why Not A House, the telepathic interplay of the band is on full display with phrases that ebb and flow in a manner reminiscent of classic jazz ensembles. Unmistakably a guitar album, this complexity is disguised with tunes such as Cold Coffee and Satanic Mills that float on the band’s trademark unrooted harmonics and rolling rhythms.
Lyrically the album deals with distances of both time and space. The desperation and comfort of being stranded; the anxiety of travel, highways, borders, separations and reunions. McIntyre’s confessions deliver infinitely relatable nostalgia and melancholy sung in his instantly identifiable, pure voice. A welcome return from one of Canada’s strongest songsmiths.