Sean Henry — A Jump from the High Dive (Nov. 1, 2019)
•⊆⊇• Henry began his career making music under the name Boy Crush. He released his first demo tape album under his own name in 2015, titled “It’s All About Me” on Double Double Whammy. Henry released his first full~length album titled “Fink” in 2018, also via Double Double Whammy.
Birth name: Sean Posila
Location: Brooklyn, New York, NY
Album release: November 1, 2019
Record Label: Double Double Whammy
01. Can U 2:36
02. So Real 3:20
03. Surf Song 3:15
04. Rain, Rain 3:53
05. Touch the Sun 3:11
06. It’d Never Be Enough 4:16
07. Space Kicks 2:33
08. The Cars 2:44
09. If 3:38
10. You Fall Away 4:18
11. Slip 2:56
• Sean Henry: vocals, guitars, bass, drums
• Brian Antonucci: guitars, keys, percussion
• Dan George: bass on tracks 3, 5, 10; lead bass on track 1
• Bridgges Stanley: drums on tracks 1, 8
• Written by Sean Henry
• Produced by Sean Henry and Brian Antonucci
• Engineered and mixed by Brian Antonucci at The Shop Sound
• Mastered by Joe Lambert at Joe Lambert Mastering
• Released by Double Double Whammy
• Cover art by AXIÖM Lë FØŪ
•⊆⊇• Sean Henry’s second studio album brings new inspiration and pop~focused elements to the front while maintaining the soft grunge style that made him a staple in the New York scene.
•⊆⊇• A Jump from the High Dive was released on November 1, 2019.
•⊆⊇• Royal Blue with Black Splatter Vinyl is limited to 150!
•⊆⊇• “A perfect slice of throwback slacker alt~rock, the sound of a slowly twisting radio dial in 1996. It leads with its melodies, all of which are engineered to burrow into your brain, but it will leap off into shameless funk breakdowns and pop~rock riffs at a moment’s notice.” — The FADER
•⊆⊇• “…Sean Henry is completing his transition from DIY pop rock savant (first as Boy Crush, and then in the short~lived High Pop) to a fully~realized songwriting auteur.” — Post~Trash
•⊆⊇• Sean Posila, who records under the moniker Sean Henry, has been writing music since he was a kid. On A Jump from the High Dive, his second proper full~length, childhood and adulthood coalesce to display his most confident and animated work to date.
•⊆⊇• On lead single “Rain, Rain,” he sings in mantras over repurposed nursery rhyme melodies you feel you have known your whole life, melodies he wrote as a child. “Rain, Rain come to me, come to me today,” Sean would sing to himself at age eight, hopeful for cancellations of his little league baseball games. The track itself feels like swimming, drenched in reverb and tremolo hitting you in waves. “I had been sitting on that melody for half my life,” he reveals.
•⊆⊇• Sean Henry’s new collection is a departure from the more straightforward garage rock found on 2018 release Fink. But the signature Sean Henry moments are still there — simultaneously innocent, in~your~face and endearingly strange. A Jump from the High Dive is a bundle of energy through a focused lens, each song reminiscent of the standout track on a gifted mix CD.
•⊆⊇• After Sean returned home to suburban Connecticut in 2019 (“New York had broken up with me”), he adopted a “religious 9 to 5” mentality: working on the record and listening to old hip~hop and ‘90s alternative CDs in his car.
•⊆⊇• “I was doing a lot of couch surfing, living where I grew up in a Connecticut ghost town and touring around the country. I was all over the place. Amidst trying to sort things out, I wanted to make my version of a pop album.”
•⊆⊇• And he did — album opener “Can U” bursts through with harmonica, claps, shakers, and undeniably fun guitar licks. Elsewhere, A Jump from the High Dive isn’t afraid to let funk~inspired basslines take the lead on occasion, most notably on “Surf Song” a danceable energetic pop~rock tune complete with cowbell.
•⊆⊇• A Jump from the High Dive was co~produced with Brian Antonucci, who Sean anointed his “teenage guru” after meeting in Catholic high school and bonding over a Dead Kennedys’ t~shirt. The two spent countless hours fine tuning the songs in the studio, even sleeping there. Sean recalls tracking most of the songs with a “scrapbooking” approach. “Starting with the drums and bass, we would build a foundation, sometimes making our own instrumental samples specifically for drums, inspired by hip~hop songs. There would be elements from the demos that we couldn’t beat so we would keep the original version instead or sample our favorite elements from it.” Similar to early records from Wilco and Beck, they employed a “spiritual layer” on each song — an ambient and noisy track that adds a layer of support on the song, complemented by polished pop elements.
•⊆⊇• From beginning to end, A Jump from the High Dive provides a musical backdrop for the dark and the light, the unrestrained moments of both childhood and adulthood, the frustration of displacement.
•⊆⊇• While finishing up the album and returning to New York City, Sean was staying up all night caring for his cat Ned, whose health was rapidly declining. Unaware of the cat’s death, painter Axiom Le Fou sent over a draft of the album art in the morning, adorned with an orange cat because “they always land on their feet.”
•⊆⊇• The imagery was supernatural and appropriate, for Sean Henry, too, always manages to land on his feet.
The Connecticut singer~songwriter’s second LP is his sunny lo~fi breakout.
By Lizzie Manno | December 6, 2019 | 3:45pm | Score: 8.2
•⊆⊇• Sean Henry has a sneaky way of making imperfect songs sound perfect. His casual vocal style might not be for everyone, but his grabby melodies and uncanny ability to layer instruments will fool most into thinking they’ve uncovered an alt~rock cult classic from back in the day.
•⊆⊇• Connecticut singer/songwriter Sean Posila, who records as Sean Henry, began releasing music in 2015 with a cassette titled It’s All About Me, filled with skeletal lo~fi rock so muddy that it’s hard to think of anything else to call it besides “angsty hubbub.” However, songs like “Busted” had a cool, unconventional bent that piqued my interest. Henry dropped his proper debut album Fink in 2018, and though it fully leaned into (Sandy) Alex G~isms and the tedious sprawl of slacker rock, there was a melodic intuition that was obvious.
•⊆⊇• With his new album A Jump from the High Dive, Henry trimmed the fat, honed his strengths and added a wider, more palatable range of reference points. Ditching the more lax qualities of Fink, Henry goes straight for the jugular with bigger, sunnier choruses and glorious, double~tracked vocals à la Elliott Smith. I’m actually convinced this album has the best opening five~track run of any album I heard in 2019. In the span of this near~perfect sequence, you’ll hear funky wah~wah guitars, weighty riffs and tender sing~along vocals, all cloaked in a timeless, lemony haze. Despite its November release date, this is charming, feel~good music much better suited to backyards in the summer than apartments in the winter — though funnily enough, the pumping grittiness of tracks like “Surf Song” and “Touch the Sun” would definitely make me trudge faster through the snow.
•⊆⊇• It’s not just Henry’s stunning pop alchemy that make this record so easy to latch onto: His self~deprecating lyrical charm will place you squarely on his team. It’s on full display in tracks like “Can U,” where Henry employs dark humor (“Lived in New York City / Everyone’s a jerk / Saw some ripped up dollar bills / Then I went to work”) and begs to be saved from “the idiot disease” over wonderfully warped guitars. On “Surf Song,” he’s a straight~up goofball (“Acting mellow like Jell~O / Cause you know you should / See satan in the soda and some angels in the air / C’mon”), but combined with programmed drums, a ripping guitar riff and hip~hop-meets~rock vocals, it’s a surprisingly fun highlight.
•⊆⊇• After leaving New York (“New York had broken up with me”), Henry retreated back home to Connecticut to work on this album and spent time listening to old hip~hop and ’90s alternative CDs in his car. Both touchstones are immediately apparent in the tracklist: With nods to veterans Sparklehorse and Wilco and contemporaries like Hovvdy and Young Guv, Henry marries the funky, off~kilter and classic on this album, which he calls “[his] version of a pop album.” This is mostly accurate, apart from moments like the wonky ambiance of “It’d Never Be Enough” or the shouted, dissonant outro of “You Fall Away.”
•⊆⊇• Once (not if) the layered vocals of songs like “So Real,” “Rain, Rain” and “You Fall Away” have wormed their way into your psyche, there’s not much you can do to reel them out. The easy~going earnestness of “Rain, Rain” is even more touching once you learn Henry wrote its melodies as a child and used to sing the refrain (“Rain, rain come to me, come to me today”) to himself at age eight, in hopes of getting his Little League games cancelled. Despite the album’s dreariness, there’s plenty of sun peeking out through the clouds — whether it’s the breezy rhythms of “Touch the Sun” or the positively invigorating climax of “You Fall Away,” A Jump From The High Dive recognizes it’s best to bide your time and find community in your struggles.
•⊆⊇• Henry’s musings on memories is what largely gives this record its vivid melancholia. On “Touch the Sun” Henry sounds like a starry~eyed schoolboy waiting for that summer that’s going to change everything (“Who’s got the facts? / I’m talking science and I’m talking math / Give myself a heart attack / Another day in this stick town life”). But with “Space Kicks,” he’s like a cynical highschooler who’s not sure whether he sees a path for himself, but knows he needs his friends (“Remember when we wanted to die / But then again, we didn’t try / We got so high, I started to cry / Put on the TV and we said goodbye”). It’s no wonder the album title gives a nod to the perils of growing up.
Henry doesn’t turn his problems into intellectual profundity, he’s simply there to chronicle all the scary, goofy and surreal ups and downs. His approach to music is similar: He’s not thrashing through metal chords or composing intricate math rock — he channels the breezy, groovy and bittersweet to make something meaningful and cathartic.
•⊆⊇• A Jump From The High Dive is so warm and compelling because it rests on familiar tried and true comforts, but that doesn’t mean Henry sounds like any one band in particular — it’s because it’s one of those “heard it in past life” records that only requires one listen to fall in love. Though side one is far superior to the more measured side two, this is Henry’s undeniable breakout album. You won’t find a manifesto on how to cope with maturing, but you will find an enduring, chipper lo~fi rock album that will “make everything feel okay,” even if its narrator doesn’t necessarily have sunny ideas about his own future. — Paste