A buddy of mine told me about Seacats well over a year ago. He worked at the local label to which they’re signed – Fin Records – and it was easy to cynically write them off. Self-described as “NW rock ‘n’ roll’s ‘FUNNY GUYZ’ since ’09,” and boasting some funny vids, ironic headbands in promo pics, and “Firewood“‘s catchy, four-chord chorus about rejecting stereotypical, redneck masculinity (sung by a small-town white male) was all endearing, but not enough.
Then I checked out their other single from their same album – “Wrecked.” Sludgy, dropped-D chromatic riffs give way to surf-rock bridges out of left field, while lyricist Josh Davis belts a melody that just begs for an audience singalong, “About those feelings you get when you’re in the midst of a conflict with a person you care about,” he tells SONGLYRICS.
Davis makes it seem like the song’s narrator might be a bit up his own judgmental ass. “There’s that thing where you think you know what people that you care about should do with their lives – ‘oh he should move to the big city’, ‘she should break up with her boyfriend because he’s a jerk’ – and I think that it’s stupid sometimes.” More immediately, it sounds somewhat like the subject is just being a shitty friend. Either way, it’s a damn good song, even if you’re a skeptic:
Whether they go for your laughs or your feels, it’s all brutally honest and specific. “The band is a pretty even split of straight-edge and non-straight edge drinker/smoker folks,” Davis says (who alternates with his brother Mike on lyric and frontman duties) – so they make a point to parody both militant straight-edge folks and party-bros in their online vids. Their latest tape, Songs from the Box, covers that universal feeling of being a fraud (“Liar“), or constant, irrational worry (“Anxiety (dumb things)“), but the real gems here are the spoken word interlude skits. The Davis brothers mock most musicians’ efforts to get a “leg up in the industry,” using themselves as an example – like the time they apparently traveled to SXSW and didn’t actually play a show:
But they’re also definitely taking the piss out of all indie musicians who make disingenuous career moves. As (Josh) Davis puts it, “We thought they were funny, but there’s definitely truth there whenever you make a joke. And when you add menacing or dark music under what could otherwise be a goofy skit it makes you interpret it in an interesting way which I really like.” What musician hasn’t had some uncomfortable variant of this conversation after a show:
Meanwhile their stage presence kicks ass. At a showcase a few months back, Josh Davis was on tour slinging merch for Special Explosion, so Mike was fronting the band on all of the songs. The crew off-handedly mentioned Josh’s absence, casually implying he’d recently died. After finishing their last song, there were inevitable yells for “Wrecked,” despite the set-time being finished – so they transitioned into it medley-style without stopping, after which guitarist Mikey Ferrario repeatedly screamed “SLOWER! SLUDGIER!” while Mike Davis did a sort of half-joking, Lewis-Black type of scream-sing. The yuks, while enjoyable, paled in comparison to their nailing the seamless encore transition and the intensity of their performance, even if it was somewhat tongue-in-cheek.
These dudes are great songwriters and musicians, but also straight-up entertainers without a shred of pretense, and if comedy is a crutch for them, they’re the first to call themselves out. They are a surprising live act, which can be said about approximately .5% of garage-y bands. Perhaps more importantly, if you’re feeling headphones over going outside, every bit of their material is heart-on-sleeve. Even when it’s ironic.