Finding light in darkness on Seafret's new album 'Wonderland'

Hope requires courage. ‘Wonderland’, the astonishing album from acclaimed duo Seafret, has both these qualities in spades.  

The culmination of two years of graft by band members and long-time friends Jack Sedman and Harry Draper, this record is a sublime body of work that guides the listener through the band’s story, from heartbreak and loss to the joys of love and new life. “It’s the project we’re most proud of,” says Sedman. “The one we’re most invested in and emotionally connected to.” 

As soon as they landed on the title, Seafret envisioned the album as a story of darkness turning into light. “We’ve tried to find a balance on the album, so there are some songs that are about heartbreak and others that are really uplifting,” Draper points out. “’Wonderland’ is us going out of our comfort zone a little bit, which has been amazing, and we find that when we do it, people love the music just as much.” 

Seafret were supporting their 2020 ‘Most Of Us Are Strangers’ album during a tour of Europe, before their schedule brought them back to the UK for a string of homecoming shows. But this was brought to a screeching halt by the arrival of the pandemic. Live music venues were shuttered, the band’s tour was cancelled with three shows to go, and the duo felt as though they were back to square one. Draper was in Leeds, while Sedman was back in Bridlington: “I never ever in a million years thought I would end up back here,” Sedman says. And for a long time, they found themselves waiting. “It can get heavy on your mind,” Draper recalls. “You get in this dark space. But we just tried to carry on writing, and actually we’ve never been as productive as we were during lockdowns. And we’re really proud of these songs.” 

Written while both Draper and Sedman were starting families with their partners, ‘Wonderland’ demonstrates their remarkable talent for songs that delve into the full spectrum of human emotion. Take opener ‘Never Say Never’, a hearts-racing folk-pop song crafted from skittering percussion and romantic guitar licks that nod to The Police. “I was never good at giving in,” Sedman sings. “Keep fighting for an open door/ No I’ll never say never, no more.” On the chorus, his voice lifts to a dazzling falsetto, filled with resolve.   

One of the duo’s favourite ‘Wonderland’ tracks is “Made of Love”, inspired by a number of things but perhaps most of all the death of Sedman’s grandma. His voice is rough with grief, cracking with emotion as he reaches towards the heavens with a piecing falsetto. “When I listen to it, it reminds me of a close family, and of big starry skies,” he says. Draper’s piano riff offers an instant emotional impact, while guitar notes glimmer warmly like distant constellations. Title track ‘Wonderland’ is equally moving, but instead reflects the album’s overarching theme of emerging out of the dark and into the light. As Sedman puts it: “It’s about finally appreciating what you took for granted for so long.” Seafret believe this is their most meaningful work to date. Listen, and you’ll feel the same way, too.  

Listen to Seafret’s brand-new album HERE.

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