The gothic brainchild of songwriter Vince Grant, The Sea at Midnight is an LA-based, purist purveyor of melodic cold wave. In the classic vein of The Cure (the early stuff) and Joy Division (the only stuff), The Sea at Midnight zeros in on the icy depths of gloomy rock, with humming synths and morose vocals carrying listeners across moody soundscapes. One such soundscape is the expertly curated “How Many Times,” the band’s third single, which dropped on March 31st. Produced and mixed by Chris King of Cold Showers with drum programming by Brandon Pierce of Glaare, the song is now available as a free song download.
On the tune, Vince says: “The first time the drummer, Brandon, heard the song, it was an acoustic demo. Just me playing acoustic guitar and singing. Brandon’s initial reaction was he felt ‘Manchester/New Order vibes’ and away he went. When the producer, Chris, and I heard the drum track Brandon had laid down, we were blown away. It was energetic, yet somehow moody at the same time. If you can call drums moody lol.
“Chris and I were immediately inspired. Chris then played the awesome Peter Hook-like bass line to the drums, and from there we kept building the track. During the recording, the song seemed to take on a mind and direction of its own. It was also Chris’s idea to use the big reverb/delay sound on some of the vocals, particularly the verses, which I really think is a really cool effect. Listening to the mixdown, Chris jokingly said to me, ‘I think we created a new genre with this one. I call it ‘dream dance.’ You heard it here first!’ Recording with Chris and Brandon was a blast. They are creative, inspiring and so much fun.”
Although it isn’t revolutionary in the cold wave, dark wave, goth rock, shoegaze – etcetera, etcetera – world, “How Many Times” is a welcome reminder of the timeless power of a detached vocal delivery, machine-like drums, and minimalist melody. So yeah, some might dismiss the tune as a rehash of what’s been done before, but there is a calm naturality to the song that invites you to experience, not just a genre or paradigm, but an entire culture’s defeated romanticism.