The difference between brothers Nate and Sean Kavanugh’s two bands, the Kavanaugh Brothers Celtic Experience (a traditional Irish folk group) and the High Sea (an indie noise-pop trio) might seem vast, but it’s not—both groups equally create soul-wrenching, sing-along tunes that blur the line between sadness and joy, just in different ways.
The High Seas’s new EP, Good Loud Shout!, contains six new post-punk pop songs. The recordings are raw and sparse, an appropriate choice for the self-conscious lo-fi 90s indie rock influence (Pavement, Modest Mouse, Guided By Voices) found in their music. There’s plenty of distorted, angular guitar riffs, subtly complex structures and vocals drenched in infectious harmonies, but unlike many of their 90s forefathers, there’s an indie-folk element, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering their Celtic group.
One of the standout tracks, “Tears”, is one of the simpler, less dissonant, jangle-pop songs with a passionate shout-along chorus. The lyrics could easily pass for an Irish drinking song (“Tears of laughter are the very best kind. Tears of joy trail close behind”). The remainder of the songs revel more in dissonance to some degree. The perfect example is “Manic,” which features a jittery Modest Mouse-esc riff and spastic vocals. The guitar solo is a nice touch.