Sea Caves: ‘Bright Forest’ [Album Review]

Vortex Music Magazine

The Portland four-piece is back with an orchestral sophomore effort released earlier this month.

Imagine yourself spontaneously driving southbound on the 101 on the first day of spring when you take a hard left and enter the endlessness of the Tillamook Forest. In that moment, you find yourself surrounded by only trees and long stretches of asphalt. The perfect song comes on, and it draws out and extracts all the feels you could ever want in that very moment. This is exactly how I felt during the opening moments of Sea Caves' “Spanning the River” (listen below), the first cut on their new record Bright Forest.

Cameron Jones (vocals, drums) and Shiloh Halsey (vocals, guitar, flute) have formed an unforgettable alliance, establishing a collaboration that’s evolved seamlessly with not only the Portland music scene, but this new generation of indie rock. With Brian Nelson (bass) and Seiji Nair (keyboards) completing this effort, the result is truly remarkable. The orchestral emphasis entwined throughout the record is unparalleled, offering moments of excitement and tension, but also absolute stillness in the compositions. From the opening dueling flutes of the first single "Spanning the River" to the electric guitar picking intro of "Border Walls," these songs truly demand your undivided attention.

Following their 2010 release of Slow Wave, this sophomore record often parallels Sufjan Stevens' debut album A Sun Came, which in the same way explored and pushed boundaries, bridging the gaps between indie rock, folk, Americana, and even Celtic-influenced music. It's been said that this project was inspired by a series of trips to Mount St. Helens and the "cataclysmic destruction" that took place there, followed by the "spectacular regrowth" you now see. This regeneration resonated all too well with the members of Sea Caves, and the result is what you can hear in the band’s latest offering: Bright Forest.

‘Bright Forest’ was self-released on February 5—listen to the record in its entirety below.

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