When THE SEAFLOOR CINEMA hit the studio with producer Courtney Ballad (Waterparks, Good Charlotte) in 2020 to record their sophomore LP, they knew exactly what kind of album they wanted to make.
“A guitar-centric pop album was always our goal,” explains guitarist/lyricist Anthony OnFire. “But throughout the course of making the record, we had to consistently keep adjusting our expectations of what that meant, and, more importantly, how we’d get there.”
Since forming in Sacramento, CA, in 2016, THE SEAFLOOR CINEMA have been keeping both themselves and listeners guessing with a musical blend-o-matic of Midwestern emo, pop-punk and math rock, spinning unconventional song structures and dextrous, intricate guitar work into captivating underground anthems they’ve brought nationwide on the Emo Night Tour.
Add to that a penchant for outrageously verbose song titles that would threaten a less-confident band with being pigeonholed as holdovers from Myspace’s glory days, and it’s clear the quartet (guitarist Anthony OnFire, vocalist/bassist Justin Murry, guitarist Seth Lawrenson and drummer Timothy Aldama) enjoy zigging where other acts might zag.
This spirit of subversion is right there from the jump on their Pure Noise Records debut, IN CINEMASCOPE WITH STEREOPHONIC SOUND, as the band soup-up their sound with a hearty dose of unabashed pop charm. This pop element gives the songs a newfound warmth without losing an ounce of what made their 2018 album, A METAPHOR FOR HONESTY, so interesting. It’s all at one sophisticated and accessible, melodically replicable and musically ambitious.
First single “Tap Tapply” adroitly bridges the gap between past and present, as the Dryw Owens-produced track – described by Anthony as “a song for future music scene burnouts who are willing to experience finding fulfillment and heartbreak in nostalgia” – blends acrobatic instrumentals and pop sheen with the rockier rhythms of the band’s older work.
Elsewhere, album standouts like “Can Someone Please Draw Me A Map To Serotonin” and “If You Deserve It You Deserve It” serve as a saccharine counter to the album’s more rock-focused songs (“Crash Nebula… On Ice!,” which Aldama hails as his favorite song), offering both AirPod karaoke singers and air guitarists something to lose themselves in.
“We worked really hard to not lose the crazy guitar that makes us us,” Anthony says.
They also didn’t lose their sense of humor (look no further than titles like “Drip God”) – or their gratitude. Kickstarter backers contributed more than $20,000 to fund the album, and The Seafloor Cinema are determined to not let this goodwill fall victim to the commoditization of modern culture and the way some acts monetize their fans. The album artwork, a beautiful vintage painting suffocated by plastic wrap, itself serves as a commentary on hyper-commercialism – which they, as always, are quick to cut with their trademark humor.
“Please tell people to stream us in their sleep,” Anthony says slyly. “Give us passive income so we can make another record. That’s all we want.”