Seba Safe “Rainy” EP

Nettwerk, 2023

Polished production with a retro feel and some solid storytelling makes for an unexpected but winning combination.

‘Rainy’ is the second EP from Irish singer-songwriter Michael D’Alton under the moniker Seba Safe and it is, as with so many recent releases, inspired in a large part by that time in the not-so-distant past that the world went on collective pause. Unlike a lot of material that came out off the back of the pandemic however, the production here means these songs in no way sound like slightly polished demos that might fall into the “lo-fi” category; in fact, D’Alton packed up and took his songs from Galway all the way to London, and with producer Duncan Mills, he transformed them into something quite special.

‘On My Way’ has echoes of 80s new wave pop-rock about it, although lyrically, D’Alton’s words that speak of the roots of his home country and of young people who emigrate from there could easily fit into something with a far more traditional sound; indeed, on the chorus he even uses the Irish phrase ‘Oró, Sé Do Bheatha ‘Bhaile’ (which translates to ‘welcome home’ in English), something that may seem incongruous with the music, however never feels out of place in the slightest.

“Life is a joke pack a punchline / ‘K I might have lied alright / Alright I’ll see you ‘round the next time /  After-party, afterlife,” D’Alton sings on ‘Afterlife’, his voice gentle and conversation as he muses on loneliness against an R’n’b tinged beat. ‘Oblivion’, with its story of wanting someone you shouldn’t, skips along happily with an easy, synth-heavy rhythm with the added bonus of some lush strings at the end, while the similarly musically upbeat ‘Rainy’ takes on the issue of trying to find a lasting connection with someone (“A smiling photograph of my parents in the past / Hit me on my way to meet someone / I knew that wouldn’t last / Life can laugh like that, leaves me in the settled past / Picks me up and puts me in a present that I cannot have”).

“Play that song until you hate it,” D’Alton encourages on ‘I Wonder’ – a song that shifts seamlessly from hazy and delicate to a pop earworm of a tune – and really, that’s pretty good advice for this EP. While they may on paper seem a pairing at odds with each other, when D’Alton’s traditional lyrics are given a shiny, 80s twist, the result are something you never knew you wanted until you heard it – but be warned, I suspect it’s nigh on impossible to play any of these songs so much that you’ll hate them.

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8/10
8/10

About Helen Jones 137 Articles
North West based lover of country and Americana.
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