Look Up newcomer and Seattle-based artist Sealife debuts with Breaking Up Together, a dreamy downtempo intimacy that perfectly portrays separation with fantastically lush pop sensibilities.
Opening with a swelling buildup of murky, streetlight-lit synths bathed in reverb, the track is brushstroked with these flecks and glimmers of sound that seem like they’re coming from far off in the distance. It then pulls back the curtain on what feels like a loungey, jazzy, yet moody slow dance.
Breaking Up Together sways at exactly the right pace, and every second of it is masterfully produced. The drums, bass, keys and synths in the first half set the stage as a perfect backdrop, each element subtly complimenting each other and sublimely structuring the track. The most exhilarating moment may just be during the chorus, where three sole slides pluck the most emotional moment of the track right out of the night sky. There’s a guitar-like quality to them, but with a close listen you’ll hear what sounds like distorted crooning synth-lead. It’s just one of the many production highlights that give Breaking Up Together such a depth.
Lyrically the track is wonderfully abstracted: these thoughts point in various directions and try to grapple with an emotional car crash, but are still very much in the present. The opening line of “I’ve been running from you for so long, it’s hard to be here” is right at the core of the anxiety one might have leading up to that kind of conversation. It’s shyly honest, and lets you into the days, weeks, or maybe even months that might have led up to this point.
“Once more for good measure” hints at a familiarity, and suggests a history and a past where people drift apart and come back together. Here it seems as though it may be for good this time, but the closing line “And if you wonder where I’ll be when you land, it’s right beneath you” is a ceiling-staring confession of devotion. It’s a reminder that no matter what the push and pull of life may bring, one can always be there for another.
Like the title suggests, Breaking Up Together is a melancholy piece. These things tend to be that way. And if you find yourself there, then Sealife may just have the perfect soundtrack for you.