It’s about time that we got something new out of Sealion.
Although the band has frequently played shows around town over the last few years, for the first time since its 2014 release, Heavy Fizz, the Dallas “art punk” quartet is set to release a new EP, titled Nothing Nowhere and released by Dreamy Life Records on June 15.
While Heavy Fizz carried a lo-fi, take-the-punks-surfing kind of vibe, Nothing Nowhere shows that the band has taken the time between records to mature.
Singer and guitarist Hunter Moehring, singer and bassist Sam Villavert, guitarist Cole Denton and now-former drummer Alex Poulos started tracking for Nothing Nowhere in 2016. Since then, Gus Baldwin joined the band as drummer, splitting his time between Sealion and Acid Carousel.
Recorded by Grammy-winning producer Jordan Richardson (Son of Stan, White Denim, Ben Harper and the Relentless 7) and Adam Lasus (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Yo La Tengo, Helium) at Electric Barryland Studios in Justin, Nothing Nowhere displays a sharper worldview than Heavy Fizz while still making time for rocking out.
Nothing Nowhere begins with the anthemic “Catahoula,” a fan favorite for its breakneck speed and hard-hitting lyrics.
“I don’t want to die for a fight that isn’t mine,” Moehring wails over whiplash guitars that fade in and out of a marching bass line — once, twice and a third time joined in harmony with his band members, giving the lyrics a sense of communal spirit.
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Things take an almost shoe-gazing turn in the next song, “Nobody Goes There Anymore.” Moehring shows his concern for “a city that has no room for children / It’s taken over by our perfect sons of man / The streets are quiet as the last light goes out / Nobody moves, nobody laughs, nobody shouts.”
“Nobody Goes There Anymore” is darker than any song the band has released and expresses the pains of growing up in a place and time that pays lip service to but cares little about maintaining the permanence of physical structures and personal relationships: “We rejoice in the sounds of our cars / … But now we don’t dance, don’t shake / No hip, no fun / And can’t we pretend we were best friends? / We are strangers now but there was a time when.”
“Break My Bones,” the third song on the EP, begins by icing the wound only to throw salt in it as Villavert takes the reins as lead vocalist. The song, filled with lyrical gymnastics, shows the band’s remarkable ability to control emotional and musical chaos, trading screams for whispers and illusions for reality.
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With a pop-punk intro that slowly descends into something a little grungier, the song attempts to find solace in pain after “never-ending hours / Manic episodes, reading facts / Possibilities, clear your tracks.” But still, as the quiet refrain insists, “There’s no sleep, there’s no sleep, there’s no sleep.”
Nothing Nowhere, an EP filled with impassioned resistance to change, ends with a sense of acceptance for the way things have become in its final song, “Sleep.” Rather than mourning the loss of sleep that “Break My Bones” obsesses over, “Sleep” begins by embracing the fact that “Sleep’s dead and gone / It’s been too long / Since we’ve seen the sunrise.” Instead of struggling to get rest, the vocals fade into the dreamy acknowledgement that “We do it all the time.”
Despite its brevity, the 16-minute EP packs in a world of emotion, perfectly capturing the band’s perspective and matching the monumental performances for which Sealion has come to be known in the area and beyond.
With Baldwin on tour with Acid Carousel, the band’s next performance is still up in the air. However, with a new EP in our hands, we have plenty to hold our attention until we can all join together again in resisting fights that aren’t ours.