Always Never is the second EP from Dublin's The Sour Seeds following last year's Find You First. Darragh Cullen, Seany Lay, Brian Reynolds and Mikey Deasy met as session musicians in 2013. They have quickly established themselves in the Dublin music scene and have already become a mainstay on the festival circuit. Sour Seeds look set to spread further with this release.
The set up is pretty straightforward with two distinctive guitars over the rhythm section with occasional flourishes of organ and saxophone. The result is a collection of pop songs that are experimental without being arch, and progressive without forgetting to be entertaining. It taps the same vein as bands like Everything Everything and Alt-J, who have managed to straddle the mainstream and alternative scenes achieving commercial success without dumbing down.
There is a tremendous amount of space in the lead single 'Can't Bring Me Down'. Hearing such dynamic, expansive music is a rarity. Always Never is the soundtrack to the Christmas Day football match in No Man's Land in the midst of the 'Loudness War'.
The clean rhythm guitar chimes on 'Painful Dance' bring to mind The Cars, Frank Zappa, surf rock, and old style rock 'n' roll without ever sounding retro. The lead guitar shines without attempting to steal the spotlight. Rather it reflects its sheen back onto the song illuminating the rest of the band.
Always Never would certainly benefit from the addition of some vocal harmonies but this is real high quality music that matches intelligent instrumental play with a pop sensibility in an instinctive, effortless fashion. Imagine Joe Jackson covering the Pixies and you wouldn't be too far away.