White Rabbit Records - Blog

2023/4 Albums Thing 299 - Seahorses “Do It Yourself”

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There isn’t really any argument that John Squire is a talented guitar player***. What he’d suffered from was being in a band with a singer that couldn’t. One of the reasons I like this album is that singer Chris Helme really can sing, it must have been quite the experience, and relief, for Mr Squire.

Helme was discovered busking outside a Woolworth’s in York. Bass player Stuart Fletcher was seen by Squire while depping for a covers band, again in York. Drummer Andy Watts was an acquaintance of Fletcher and Helme. Thus were The Seahorses assembled, primarily I’m sure as a vehicle to highlight Squire but Chris Helme certainly had quite the piece to say in the making of this record.

There’s more than an air of Folk Rock about “Do It Yourself”. A lot of that comes from Chris Helme’s voice (Squire was hesitant about including Helme after the auditions because he “closed his eyes when he sang and only folk singers do that”) but Squire’s playing has more than a hint of Fairport era Richard Thompson about it in places. There are two real standout songs within, the two singles “Blinded By The Sun” and “Love Is The Law”, although any praise of the latter is to be tempered by it being extended to almost 8 minutes for the purposes of the album by Squire’s uneccessary mid-song fret w@nking!

The whole focus of this record is Squire and Helme. Squire had honed what he was aiming at on his previous bands mess of a second album and Helme managed to stamp his mark all over this. The rhythm section could honestly be anyone and, in the 27 years since this was released, today is the first time I even bothered looking at who they were! I do like it, although it was something of an impulse buy when it was re-issued a couple of years ago (original vinyl copies now sell for 3 figures). It’s folk rock…whether Squire likes it or not. 

Love Me And Leave Me - https://youtu.be/tDYenCgDLgw?si=ovlTTIVFD9kpwSem

(***although, given recent developments with the front man from another BritPop combo, definitely one with a questionable choice in singers)

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