Bushbaby - Sea of Tranquility. The face of the surface of the moon looks like a bushbaby.

Sea of Tranquillity

Long-time readers will have heard of Bushbaby. We frequently encountered them playing live up and down the country alongside greats such as Halo, Brigade, and Daughters Courageous. So, what’s brought them back onto the radar? They’re assembling their archive, and one of the discoveries was an unreleased track, ‘Sea of Tranquillity.

This recording was captured during a rehearsal in 2004. The band describe it as “raw”, but honestly, most bands would be pleased if they emerged from a studio with this result. What they caught in the can is a rock song filled with melodic moments and hooks.

The drums bring things in with a fill, with a driving guitar line over the top of a fascinating bass line. This deserves a quick digression before we get into the first verse…

When you start out in a band, you all play the same thing, and it’s often D-A-B-G (if you’re up to four chords). With experience, most bands work out that you can add interest by letting the bass player hold together the progression while the guitar does something else. When a band is exceptional, nobody plays the progression but it still exists, like a ghost… its the whitespace between the guitar and bass lines. Bushbaby are frequently exceptional.

So, back to that first verse.

Everything drops out of the intro into a smouldering atmospheric swirl, pumped along by moody tom-tom work. The vocal smoothly draws you in, soft at times and edging into Hutchence territory as it prepares to land in the pre-chorus, which would have been the chorus for many bands.

I’m drowning in the sea of tranquillity
Sinking deeper in the sea of tranquillity
Slipping under in the sea of tranquillity
It’s getting darker everywhere I turn

After this, it’s the chorus, switching up the rhythmic flow of the song and adding backing vocals to give it extra elevation. A smoking riff adds a twist before the second verse. Nobody saw that coming! The verse is a more substantial rendering than the first, the pre-chorus has a backing vocal twist, and there’s a drop-out for a cut-down version of the chorus.

The riff returns to provide a middle eight, and we land in a soaring chorus that reverses into the pre-chorus before the song bails into an outro.

Like many of their songs, the twisty structure means that the band never really play the same thing twice in the whole song. From a listener’s perspective, the complexity isn’t obvious – it just makes the song more interesting as it’s not just a repeating structure.

Ultimately, fans of post-Britpop and post-grunge would love this band. They created a great big sound despite being a power trio, and they loved to do weird things that turned out uncannily listenable and that have stood the test of time.

Listen to Bushbaby – Sea of Tranquillity.

Written by Fenton on

Steve Fenton writes in our music, words, and culture categories. He was Editor in Chief for The Mag and covered live music for DV8 Magazine and Spill Magazine. He was often found in venues throughout the UK alongside ace-photographer, Mark Holloway. Steve is also a technical writer and programmer and writes gothic fiction. Steve studied Psychology at OSC, and Anarchy in the UK: A History of Punk from 1976-1978 at the University of Reading.

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