Sea Stories

Sea Stories Biography

Leading lights of the late 1980s movement towards a more reflective, post-gothic folk-pop sound, alongside The Odolites, Not Drowning, Waving, The Hollowmen and These Future Kings, Melbourne quartet Sea Stories created a refreshing and subtle style. Other contemporaries in the band's chosen genre included former-Perth bands like The Triffids, Chad's Tree, The Lighthouse Keepers, The Honeys and Rabbit's Wedding.

A year after formation, Sea Stories issued the tentative mini-album To Light the Home Fires (July 1987) on the Rampant label. The band contributed `I Remember When She Had Jesus' to Rampant's Various Artists album Running Rampant Volume 1 (1987). Robyn Clarke (ex-Sweet Jayne) replaced Williamson on drums and the band issued the 12-inch EP Secret World which appeared in early 1988. Later that year, Sea Stories recorded its debut, full-length album, but it remained on the shelf for over a year while the band sorted out a new record deal. Bypassing the Australian industry, Sea Stories signed direct to US label I.R.S. (home to bands as diverse as R.E.M. and the Lords of the New Church). Miller's Pond fulfilled the band's early promise with its warm, wistful and assured folk-based song arrangements. The album produced the single `Still They Stand'/`1,000 Years' (June 1990). Sea Stories also contributed a plaintive cover of AC/DC's `You Shook Me all Night Long' to the 3RRR Various Artists tribute album Used and Recovered by...(1990). Michael Hepworth (cello, organ) expanded the band's line-up to a five-piece.

The new line-up recorded the critically acclaimed album Wide Eyed and Dreaming, which was further reaffirmation of the band's growth and self-confidence. It produced the single `Gone for Sure'/`Wasted Everything', `Here She Comes Now' (March 1991) and the four-track EP `Wonderful Things'. The three bonus tracks included with `Wonderful Things' were taken from a session for Triple J's Live at the Wireless. By the time the album appeared in April 1991, Clarke had left to be replaced temporarily by Russell Bradley (on loan from Not Drowning, Waving) and Dave Shaw (ex-Stems), before Nick Wilson took over permanently.

Sea Stories struck a new deal with Polydor which resulted in the CD EP Junior and the single `What Went Wrong?' before breaking up in late 1993.

Simon Honisett and Penny Hewson re-emerged in 1994 as acoustic duo Sunglass. The duo issued the Sunglass album (April 1994) and the CD EP `When Stars Collide' (June). Sunglass issued a new single, `How Long Can You Stay Angry?' in July 1995.

At the same time, Honisett and Hewson launched four-piece outfit Gigantaur to cater to their guitar pop tastes. The single `On a Rocket'/`Trailer Trash' and CD EP Gigantaur (July 1995) featured bright, pacey and melodic guitar pop. Gary Aspinal (bass) and Dave Shaw (drums) augmented Honisett and Hewson on the single, after which Darren Seltmann joined as permanent drummer. With the break up of Gigantaur, Penny Hewson struck out on her own, issuing her debut solo album, Me (June 1998), on her own Wasabi Records. Hewson also managed Melbourne band The Avalanches and ran the Choc Chip Records label. - Ian McFarlane 1999; Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop


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