An anxiety-filled sound
Have A Nice Life put their emotions on display with their third studio album, Sea of Worry. The album title already gives away what the album is about: anxiety. The sound is dark and gloomy with a heavy guitar dominating over the vocals. It’s hard to believe that such a powerful sound is created by only two people, but that is what Have A Nice Life is known and loved for. Even though Sea of Worry only contains seven songs, it has a playtime of over 40 minutes. The songs are lengthy and something to really listen to. This album is not made for casual playing in the background; the dark sounds are fascinating and the lyrics emotional. Like in their previous albums, the vocals aren’t as prominent as the sound, but they are still impactful.
The album starts with “Sea of Worry.” The title track starts with an instrumental sequence that is reminiscent of early goth bands like Joy Division, especially the guitar riffs. Besides the theme of anxiety, this song reflects on a nihilistic society in which nothing really matters. The echoing of Dan Barrett’s screams in the middle of the song gives it a helpless notion, this combined with the slow then fast rhythm of the song, it almost feels like being trapped underneath a wave. This makes “Sea of Worry” one of the most interesting songs on the album.
The song is followed by “Dracula Bells,” a track that takes a hit on Christianity. Here the band gets more experimental with their sound; with an out of sync piano mixed with spoken vocals, it sounds like destruction and deep anger. The most quotable line of the song is definitely “My God is a God of Ironies.” “Science Beat,” the third song of the album, sounds more hopeful in the beginning. The synthesizer part that continues for a while gives the feeling of something new, but as in many songs, the beat is completely different from the actual meaning. “Science Beat” is about being empty and feeling invisible. The ending sounds almost like a choir when the music fades away.
Everything comes together in “Trespasser W;” anxiety, heartbreak and religion. After “Dracula Bells,” this is the second song in which Have A Nice Life find harsh words for Christianity. Starting with guitar riffs and a fast beat, it gets slower with the vocals of Barrett. The lyrics reflect on a bad breakup and the consequences of the bitterness.
“Everything we Forget” is entirely instrumental and shows how much the band values sound. It almost sounds like a song to meditate to and to get lost in. It is quiet for a while before “Lords of the Tresserhorn” starts. It starts with a signal-like sound. Barrett’s vocals are almost static in the background. In the middle of the song, the lyrics get even more pushed into the background, Barrett’s voice becomes a noise. The sound is all that matters, and it is a loud, explosive sound.
“Well, I saved the hottest for last,” that’s how the final song “Destinos” starts. It is by far the longest song on the album with a playtime of 13 minutes and 14 seconds. The first four minutes are an audio sample by a preacher. He teaches about the meaning of hell and how people in modern society aren’t as religious. After that, the acoustic guitar becomes the main focus of the point, while vocals are to be distinguished in the background. The song almost feels like it has multiple episodes in itself after the sound grows stronger and harder. The album finishes like it started, with a complex song that isn’t meant to be only background noise. To fully understand it, it is necessary to listen to it with full attention.
Sea of Worry is not an easy album. It is intense and dark and it can make people think deep with just sound. Have A Nice Life created an album that sucks in its audience till the very last note.