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Album Review: By The Sea - Heaven Knows Magnolia

Updated: Oct 10, 2022

Heaven Knows Magnolia is the third album from By The Sea, a band from The Wirral who you all should know and adore. Their first two albums, the self-titled debut and follow up Endless Days, Crystal Skies were full of beauty, joy, romance and wisdom that had all of us who had the pleasure of hearing these albums falling head over heels in love with the band. If for some reason those first two albums passed you by, then please get yourself a copy of Heaven Knows Magnolia, the bands latest masterpiece which has been produced by Bill Ryder-Jones. I guarantee the world you live in will improve in an instant.

ESP opens the album in such a soothing, dreamlike manner that will leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling. The song opens with a big warm hug, the opening thirty seconds has some lovely, hushed vocals and contains some fantastic lyrics; “Walk the earth until you’re tired, find yourself some warmer climate, and sleep until the crowd get quiet”. The song then has a mini crescendo with some wonderful sounds that will uplift your mood. Heaven Knows Magnolia comes at you with some infectious rhythms, melodies and incredibly craftsmanship that highlight the fact that By The Sea are a band who are so comfortable with each other and love nothing better than being together and creating music. The lyrics will be swirling around your head for quite some time “If heaven knows we’re here then what’s the use”.

Desire Paths is a big dose of sunshine pop that will brighten up even the darkest of days. Let’s face it, we have had plenty of dark days over the last few years, we need music now more than ever to help us feel good about life and to escape from the darkness. Desire Paths does all of that and more.

Harry and Stevie is a timeless pop song. This is one of those songs that has that sound that is unique to Liverpool, it is a sound that I have loved so much over the years, a sound that you can’t fully describe but when you hear songs like this you instantly know that it has been written by a band from Liverpool.

Listening to Harry and Stevie a lyric jumped out as being full of nostalgia and romance and made me smile: “I took a walk down to your place / I’m skimming stones there everyday”.

Bedbound Melodies has been co-written by the legend that is Bill Ryder-Jones, and there really are no words that I can say to fully do this song justice. It is such a powerful, emotive song that the entire world has to hear. The gentle guitar melodies allow the vocals to take centre stage, and these really are lyrics that you have to listen to “Tell God that I can’t sleep without a phantom for some company”.

Anywhere You Like has a stadium filling sound to it. Isn’t it strange how the music industry works at times? How do certain bands get to fill stadiums and others don’t? This song would not sound out of place echoing around stadiums and arenas throughout the world. As the title suggests Carl’s UFO has another world feel to it and that is exactly what we need from our music. This is a song that you can listen to, close your eyes and just find yourself drifting away to a galaxy far far away. Love Letter is yet another perfectly put together song with lyrics that takes us back to days gone by. Mt. Pleasant has some glorious chiming guitars, talks of trying to do all you can for someone else and leaves us feeling positive and hopeful. “I’ll climb a mountain for you and fall back down into the water”. The Let Downs closes the album in such an atmospheric, haunting, and triumphant way.

By The Sea have always been a band we can’t live without. Heaven Knows Magnolia further emphasises how important this band are. This is a must own album, get yourself a copy as soon as you can.

Heaven Knows Magnolia is released on 21st October and is available to preorder now:

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