The Sea The Sea
By Lily Allen-Duenas
Photo by Mark Hilton
From the back of the room Chuck E. Costa and Mira Stanley, the two musicians that comprise the indie/folk band The Sea The Sea, appeared in near darkness and began singing while slowly approaching the stage. The singer-songwriters took the audience by surprise and the surprise didn’t stop there. Making their Cedar Rapids debut on Sunday, August 17 at CSPS Hall, the audience was held in awe of their enchanting music. The woman to my right sat on the edge of her seat and hung on every word. Throughout the show, the occasional audience member would feel compelled to pipe up compliments such as “Now that song was beautiful!” and “Holy cow that was incredible!”
Costa and Stanley are masters of harmony. Weaving their voices around each other’s, there was rarely a moment in which their voices were not in unison. Often singer-songwriters follow a linear, traditional arrangement that emphasizes their lyrics instead of their instrumentation. However, The Sea The Sea takes pride in creating intricate, labyrinthine arrangements, filled with rounds and complex harmonies.
Two acoustic guitars, one electric guitar, one banjo, a snare drum, and a porch board rotated between Stanley and Costa. Both displayed talent with each instrument, but Costa’s affinity for the electric guitar was especially obvious. During their “space medley” he used the guitar effects pedals to create intergalactic sounds. And the porch board was rendered almost unnecessary with the powerful tapping of Mira Stanley’s heeled boots.
The Sea The Sea’s first album, Love We Are We Love, was released in February 2014 but they have been touring together for a few years now, with their first show on tour at a symphony hall and the second in someone’s living room. The CSPS audience was treated to hearing the self-selected, and well-practiced highlights of their album as well as a fistful of their brand new songs, including one song that they had never performed on stage before. This brilliant duo is certainly making waves. Sink into the briny deep of Love We Are We Love, and you’ll find something to treasure.