Recording information: Converse Rubber Tracks Studio, Brooklyn, NY.
A pretty different band than on its 2007 debut, having changed singers, shifted songwriting duties, and rotated producers, the 2015 edition of A Sunny Day in Glasgow picks up where it left off a year prior on Sea When Absent's trend toward the more comprehensible for the group's bright fifth LP, Planning Weed Like It's Acid/Life Is Loss. Billed as a double EP, it was plotted together as a band and recorded mostly at bandmembers' homes for a quicker turnaround than in the past. The resulting album is a breezier outing -- relatively speaking; they haven't abandoned their strata-style textures or engaging experimental bent. The at once catchy, melodic, dissonant, and buzzing "Jet Black, Starlit," for instance, manages to sound like a smile through its shower of metallic noise. Whether or not it's supposed to be part of the Life Is Loss portion of the album, "Days & More Nights" offers sweet, feel-good dream pop ("Tell me all about you/I want to know about you") with an unexpected a cappella harmony ending. Elsewhere, the poppy "Hey, You're Mine" is rhythmic and uber-melodic, with strings decipherable in its slow-building wall of sound that is somehow both dense and weightless, and the effervescent "I Can't Live Without Your Love" throws disco into the intricate mix. "Bimbo" features heavy vocal distortion and clamoring organ tones and percussion sculpted into an engaging blend of early rock & roll, experimental rock, and shoegaze that plays more lucid in reality than on paper. There's a lot of dissonance and crunchiness on the record, but the context always makes it go down easy. Planning Weed Like It's Acid/Life Is Loss sounds a little less clean and more D.I.Y. than Sea When Absent, and that's part of its charm -- it often feels improvisational, though tracks are more likely meticulously constructed. However they pulled it off, the album is spirited, involving, and full of good songs and creative production deserving of ears. ~ Marcy Donelson