Oh, happy, bouncy pop music. I try to resist you — especially if it’s early in the morning and I haven’t had my coffee yet — and yet I’m beguiled by your charms. I can’t help it. I’m a sucker for a good hook.
Which is why I looked rather foolish in the office earlier this week, as I bopped around in my chair while listening to the Sea Captains, a band based partially in Portland, partially in Portsmouth, N.H., and always in the world of energetic pop rock. The band is set to perform with the Rustic Overtones and Headstart at WHSN’s annual AS4MS benefit concert, set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 3, at the Gracie Theatre at Husson University.
“We wanted to convey the fact through our music that we’re all having a lot of fun when we play together,” said Adam Flaherty, rhythm guitarist for the five-piece group. “We wanted to keep it light and upbeat, but the funny thing is, even though it sounds really positive and happy, the subject matter of Tim’s lyrics is pretty tongue-in-cheek. The lyrics aren’t exactly like the sound.”
Smart, happy pop music? Sign me up. The Sea Captains set sail about 2½ years ago, after most of the members of Flaherty’s original band, the Adam Flaherty Noise Machine, parted ways after graduating from the University of New Hampshire. Flaherty and Tim Collins, the primary songwriter for the band, continued making music together, and within a few months assembled the Sea Captains, recruiting bass player Marty Morrissey, lead guitarist Carl Hansen and drummer Chris St. Lawrence.
“Both Tim and I are influenced by the same kinds of bands and musicians,” said Flaherty. “We both love OK Go. They’re one of the bands we really look up to. They have a lot of stage presence. They’re really funny.”
Last October, the Sea Captains released their debut album, “Unfathomable,” a collection of sweet, sarcastic songs that evoke Weezer, Death Cab for Cutie and, yes, OK Go. Lead single “Lonely All the Time” is a pop-punk sugar rush with just the right amount of not-taking-ourselves-seriously sneer thrown in, while “It’s Your Rhythm” feels less ironic and more sincere, with a warm, folky sheen and Collins’ smart lyrics.
While cultivating a fan base, thanks to plays on WCYY-FM and their being featured on a seasonal compilation put out by the Hollister clothing company, the Sea Captains have been busy doing other fun things. In February, the band asked their fans to submit an idea for a music video treatment for “It’s Your Rhythm.” The band whittled it down to three ideas and let fans vote on it. The winner? Ryan Grudinski’s idea to have the band trying to win over a hot pizza delivery girl. Never let it be said the Sea Captains don’t have a sense of humor.
One last thing, though. With a name like the Sea Captains, it might be safe to assume that the guys grew up on the mighty ocean, hoisting sails and swabbing the deck. Tim Collins wears a captain’s hat at each show. At least one them might have a peg leg.
“I think we all have an appreciation for the water. I’m from Falmouth, so I grew up next to it,” said Flaherty. “I think we just thought it was a funny name. We like getting dressed up in that garb. We have fun with it.”
The Sea Captains will play with Rustic Overtones and Headstart at WHSN’s annual AS4MS benefit concert, set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 3, at the Gracie Theatre at Husson University. The show benefits the Maine Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Tickets are $20, available at all Bull Moose Music locations. For information, visit www.theseacaptains.com.