Cristobal And The Sea Sugar Now on LP
The ongoing dispute over explorer Cristobal Columbus' nationality shows some country disputes will stay unresolved, but others are born to harmonize, in the case of Cristobal And The Sea. The London-based union of Alejandro ‘Ale' Romero (bass, vocals, Spain), João Seixas (guitar, vocals, Portgual), Leïla Seguin (flute, vocals, Corsica/France) and Joshua Oldershaw (drums, UK) harnesses an altogether fluid, rhythmic and exquisitely melodic energy as colorful and evocative as their band name, forged from different strands of DNA, primarily bossa-nova, Afro-pop and Western folk and rock, but even here it's varied, as much Animal Collective as it is Arthur Lee's Love.
This European concoction was first tasted on Cristobal and the Sea's five-track EP debut Peach Bells in December 2014, and now it's their equally stunning forthcoming debut album Sugar Now. Charismatic, charming and beautifully boho, here's a band embracing life as only the young and carefree know how! The rich variety of sound apparent in Sugar Now makes it hard to pin down the music's true origins, "We don't ever consciously make our music sound like a genre." says João. Instrumentally, it's led by Leïla's jazzy flute as much as João's bossa-nova preferences: "the Latin element is always there," says Josh, "but it naturally adapts to whatever theme is most prevalent, whether it's psychedelic, or more poppy, or sometimes a bit disco."
Seeking a location to inspire them, and chasing the sun as well, the band and producer decamped to Lisbon for the album, which allowed Sugar Now to come from a different place. "We'd previously used a lot of effects on our instruments, but when Rusty saw us rehearse, he said not to use any" João recalls. "It meant we had to play in a different way, which made things a bit funkier, and we liked it enough not to put the effects back! So the album is more stripped down and open-ended."
The lyrics (mostly by João) mirror the music's dynamic - dreamy, ecstatic and only occasionally melancholic. "It's about the day-to-day experiences that people have, sometimes fun and sometimes cathartic," says João. It's not a dark record, but it has little twinges..." Some songs are direct and simple, whilst other sentiments are slightly more complicated, The hope and anxiety of romance colors Sugar Now, "but not in any overblown sense, it's more the realistic form," Josh concludes. As João says, "It's about a bunch of people asking for sugar! Everybody needs some sugar in their lives."