Sea Monsters is the name of a five-day mini-festival which took place in Brighton in January of 2011 promoted by local label One Inch Badge. It’s also the name of the accompanying compilation release put out by the label, which, like the festival did back in January, aims to highlight all of the excellent musical things going on Brighton, and a most excellent job that they’ve done of it too.

Sea Monsters is an 18 track release of carefully selected songs – spanning from delicate folk music to instrumental rock and back – from some of Brighton’s more well-known acts. Bands such as the DJ Scotch Egg-fronted Drum Eyes make an appearance with their instrumental, electronic, funky experimenting of ‘Future Police’ and the impressive and increasingly well-known Cold Pumas also contribute with ‘Proof Of Man’; a noisy, driving and satisfyingly abrasive krautrock-ish affair. But it’s with the lesser known bands on Sea Monsters that sit beside these acts where One Inch Badge are really doing their job of pointing a spotlight on the city’s talents well. It is excellent that bands such as Us Baby Bear Bones, with their stripped back, delicate, haunting and dark folk-pop sounds, Nullifier, all synth-led weirdo pop, Illness, scrappy, instrumental indie-meets-math rock jams, The Sticks, lo-fi surf-ish upbeat pop, and Soccer96, impressive, heavily-electronic instrumental rock, amongst others, are all able to get their music heard by a wider audience who mightn't previously have had the opportunity to hear them. There will be acts here unknown to even the most observant of Brighton's dwellers and, as clichéd a phrase as it is, this release is so diverse that there really is something for everyone.

As well as musically strong and refreshingly eclectic the label have also done their best at making the compilation as listenable as a ‘proper’ and ‘whole’ album as possible and it’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into the track-listing of the release. The Sticks, for instance, lead perfectly into the TV On The Radio-influenced alternative pop sounds of Pope Joan, and ‘Sad Song’ by Squadron Leaders is the perfect soundtrack to a ‘goodbye’.

It’s impressive that all these bands hail from the same city, and Sea Monsters gives an excellent insight into the Brighton music scene – successfully portraying Brighton as the vibrant, diverse, cultured and exciting city that it is. Every city needs its own One Inch Badge, and for less than five pounds for 18 songs from different 18 bands, Sea Monsters is a bargain too.

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