Recommended Tracks: “Strange Mornings in the Garden”, “Last of the Great Machines”, “You, Me, and the Sea”
Artists You May Like: Moon Vs Sun, Wild Child, Mipso
After striking up a friendship nearly 30 years ago at the notable Fort Apache Studios, Tanya Donelly and Brian Sullivan have given us many meaningful collaborations. Of these projects, the most popular include their cover of “The Lovecats” in 2009 for Just Like Heaven: A Tribute to The Cure and a cover of “Shoplifters of the World Unite” in 2011 for Please, Please, Please: A Tribute to The Smiths. We hear how beautifully their voices complement each other on these tracks, Tanya’s sweet and silky vocals adding light to Brian’s deep and moody hues. In December of 2020, they released their debut single as The Loyal Seas, sending their fans into a frenzy. The two-sided release sold out instantly and paved the way for The Loyal Seas’ debut album, Strange Mornings in the Garden.
Upon first listen of Strange Mornings in the Garden, it is nearly impossible to ignore the poetic nature of the lyrics. Whether it is a few lines of a song or every single line, these lyrics could be your next tattoo, solid enough to last the test of time. Tanya and Brian give us much to ponder with lines like “In the peace of defeat / The terrible peace of defeat” on “Milkweed” or “In the great sky / There are no lower lights / There are no lesser lights / There are no little lights” on “Mary Magdalene in the Great Sky.” Using such thoughtful words, The Loyal Seas also create enthralling visuals, like that of two friends reminiscing on their past on “(So Far from) Silverlake” or the striking moment someone declares their love for another on the title track.
Most of the narratives on the album dive into the concept of wanting to be with someone, whether for a moment or a lifetime. There are tracks like “Early Light” and “Come Around Again,” which focus on that desire to stay with someone, but also move away from them. For instance, we hear “Bring the better you / I’ll bring the better me / We’ll ride this out until the end” on “Come Around Again,” but also “You’re stuck in my head / I’m under your skin / If this is the end, then let it begin,” highlighting the question of ending things for good or making it work forever. The gears change on other tracks such as “Last of the Great Machines” and “Driving With a Ghost,” which emphasize unconditional love. With “Last of the Great Machines,” Tanya and Brian sing, “I will hold all the hurt / I will hold you if it’s the last thing I do,” while on “Driving With a Ghost,” we hear about accepting “every angle featured, every scar and bite.” The Loyal Seas do well to demonstrate the work that goes into relationships with these songs, showing that love can be complex at times.
As previously mentioned, Tanya and Brian have very compatible voices. Both make strong impressions, whether they are singing alone or with each other. When their voices do intertwine, like on “You, Me, and the Sea,” the moment is so pure and potent, their styles meshing seamlessly. They are also skilled at adapting their vocals to the mood of the each song, knowing when to add harmonies or elaborate on a melody.
Overall, it is clear that The Loyal Seas was meant to happen. All of their years of making music pays off, as we are given such emotive arrangements and a pleasing variety of songs. Tanya and Brian are more than capable of creating immersive experiences, from poignant piano ballads to sunny indie folk jams. We hope that this is not the first and last album from The Loyal Seas, but if so, it is definitely a project you do not want to pass up.
You can listen to Strange Mornings in the Garden on platforms like Apple Music and SoundCloud.