The Loyal Seas - Strange Mornings in the Garden (Album Review)

Review by Benjamin Allen

"Strange Mornings in the Garden" is the debut album from The Loyal Seas, a collaboration between Tanya Donelly (The Breeders, Belly) and Brian Sullivan (Dylan in the Movies), two beloved veterans of New England's underground music scene. Listeners familiar with Donelly's output might expect another dose of punkish haziness from The Loyal Seas. However, those assumptions would be wrong. The janky, angular sound of the 90s is all but missing in The Loyal Seas' hi-fi wash of shimmering guitars, keys, and synthesizers that create a blend of heartland rock, Americana, and synth-pop. It glistens; the ambient, reverb-laden guitars on tracks like "Driving with a Ghost" offer respite from rockier takes such as "(So Far From) Silverlake", and "You, Me and the Sea". These tracks create an almost krautrock level of repetition in the arpeggiating piano chords, guitars and drum beats - the result is hypnotic. 


Donelly sounds best when opting for a breathy vocal style, such as in the track "Driving with a Ghost". When she sings the line, "There you are, it's good to see you made it through," it sounds like she's directly addressing you, reinforcing the intrinsic sense of intimacy in that excellently penned track. While the tracklist offers room for both Donelly and Sullivan to take centre stage, the duets shine the brightest. On songs like "Swimmers in the Gold", it sounds like they've been singing these timeless songs together for decades.


The Loyal Seas - Strange Mornings in the Garden (Album Review)
Reviewed by Benjamin Allen on 2022-06-14
Rating: 4