Have A Nice Life - Sea Of Worry review


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Band: Have A Nice Life
Album: Sea Of Worry
Release date: November 2019

01. Sea Of Worry
02. Dracula Bells
03. Science Beat
04. Trespassers W
05. Everything We Forget
06. Lords Of Tresserhorn
07. Destinos

Dan and Tim, now adults with adult problems, are reunited by fate once again. And things aren't a whole lot better.

Have A Nice Life are a fairly quiet duo, both in the quantity of their output and I can't say their music is that loud too, except that it can get really noisy. They've always been quality over quantity, which is strange to say of a band that released a behemoth of a double album as a debut album, along with a 70 page manifesto or rather something that puts the "book" in "booklet", and a compilation of demos/alternate takes in Voids. After another EP and a full length, it would 5 years until we'd hear a new Have A Nice Life song. So that's just three full lengths in more than a decade. So you can guess the massive anticipation I had for this record. After seeing them perform two sets at this year's Roadburn, one of which were a full performance of the cult classic Deathconciousness, though I was disappointed no new songs were played, the hype was at its peak.

So when the first single dropped, which was this record's opening and title track, I did like its more post-punk direction, but I can't deny that I was slightly underwhelmed by it. Ever since I discovered Have A Nice Life, everything about them was those few records and limited number of songs, some I liked more than others, some I listened to more times that I'd dare to admit. But there it was, a new Have A Nice Life song. And it was... alright. But I made the wise decision not to draw any conclusions about the entire record and just wait until the entire thing drops so that I can stream it in one piece and enjoy the whole thing instead of calling it underwhelming based on a different song. It was a totally different experience.

Two of the songs on here are re-recordings of older songs from Voids, but even with those in their new form, Sea Of Worry goes through so many of Have A Nice Life's trademark sounds, from the very post-punk/gothic rock opener through more shoegaze tracks through more industrial and droning dark ambient cuts, it's a record that continuously changes and gets darker and noisier. All of those genre tags are fairly useless in a way due to how uniquely Have A Nice Life have always approached those, but if any of them have a strong and coherent presence on Sea Of Worry, it is post-punk, especially in the earlier half of the record, giving some credence to how I imagined "Sea Of Worry" would give clues about the record as a whole, but feeling a lot less underwhelming in context, because it's definitely the lightest song on the record and it all gets worse from there. And by worse, I don't mean quality. I mean that it's really not a nice life.

Have A Nice Life make melancholic music. That's kinda their shtick. Sea Of Worry finds two people (or maybe more, with the inclusion on this record of some of the band's live members) who used to be enamored with tales of a hunter that climbs to God on a staircase of bodies and kills Him with a flurry of arrows; but now are people with lives and children and who probably had hopes that they will have figured it out by now. You can probably guess that they haven't figured it out and the world is still pretty fucked up even as an adult, and they know it, and they're here to tell you. They've still got some talking to do about religion, but lines like "I guess I thought I'd know / What I'm doing by now / But I know nothing" do get quite hard hitting.

At this point, Deathconciousness is just too classic of a cult classic to have anything compared to it. I don't think The Unnatural World did and I don't think Sea Of Worry does. That one just had such an aura and a megalithic quality about it that just cannot be replicated. But am I glad that we got a new Have A Nice Life record and that they're more than just mysterious internet lore. For the first time, I feel like a Have A Nice Life was made by actual people instead of always having existed.

No fun. Not ever.


Written on 20.11.2019 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments: 5   Visited by: 88 users
21.11.2019 - 16:55
Boxcar Willy
yr a kook
This album is a huge let down compared to their colossal debut. Very run of the mill shoegaze album.
14:22 - Marcel Hubregtse
I do your mum
21.11.2019 - 20:14
Troy Killjoy
Even without comparing this to previous material, I wouldn't be able to find as many positive things to say about it. The simplistic song structures and reliance on droning dissonance over substance, coupled with the strange mixing and cleaner production sends too many mixed messages of what this is supposed to be.

But I know my complaints don't represent the majority when it comes to this project, so I can respect that others enjoy it so much.
I have no memory of this place.
23.11.2019 - 04:03
I think I've come to enjoy this album a lot more for what it is than finding fault for what it isn't. Deathconsciousness is kinda like HANL's Maniacal Vale so it'd be pretty unrealistic to expect them to create something as good or better again. I like the fact that they made it a little more simplistic and accessible, it's a bit more digestible that way but still has their unquestionable mark stamped all over it. Really great record.
Check out Apothecary's Favorite Bands Playlist, brotendo. One track per band.
23.11.2019 - 19:48
Giant robot
I never paid too much attention to these guys, so I didn't have any expectations with this new album. I just put it on and did some random stuff around the house, it's a really nice "neutral" sort of soundtrack. I understand why people call it simplistic, but that's exactly why I appreciate it.
28.11.2019 - 19:25
Oi, I just realized this is my 200th review
Father: How can a picture of a field be sad without a sad person looking sad in the field?
Young Woman: That's an interesting problem. Yeah, I struggle with that.

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