Watercourse is the new LP from Sea Pinks, Belfast's finest purveyors of bittersweet guitar pop since 2010. Their sixth album sees them picking up where 2016's acclaimed Soft Days left off, refining and elaborating on the dream/power pop dynamic of that album, while still managing to sound as fresh as a band making their debut. Each song is a pure outsider pop gem, with effervescent choruses, buoyant drums and a distinctive woozy guitar style, all wrapped in a mischievous sense of humor.
Throughout Watercourse there's a definite sense of homecoming, with plenty of twists and turns on the way. This is borne out in the contrasting sides of the LP, as the band's signature dream pop jangle on side one gives way to a harder edged, more brittle punk-inspired power pop on side two. As Neil Brogan explains; "The songs on side one are all about movement. They are dreamy and more upbeat. Side two is more about being static, whether it's a fixed place or a moment in time. They are more urgent sounding and a little more bittersweet."
With 10 songs in 33 minutes, the result is tight, fast paced and emotionally charged. From the vibrant optimism of the title track, through the fatalistic defiance of single "Into Nowhere," deep sea reveries on "I Don't Know What I Would Do..." and anthemic contempt on "How Long Must I Be Denied," to the more reflective uncertainty of "Shock of The New" and the wry euphoria of closer "Pining Away," the band wends it way, shape shifting as they go.