South London’s Tugboat Captain Sail into the Eye of a Baroque-Pop Storm with New Single ‘Deep Sea Diving’.

Their second single of the year is the sort of song that should be played at an aquatic wedding, where the suits are pink and the fish people dance like water.

Photo: Rob Humm | Words: Lois Thomas

Four-piece Tugboat Captain are part of the bedrock of the South London music circuit, formed initially around Alexander Sokolow, multi-instrumentalist and the chief impresario at The Cavendish Arms (at least as far as music is concerned). The band’s DIY charm and cheeky sparkle flourishes once again on their latest single, ‘Deep Sea Diving’. This track follows ‘Flash of Light’ which ended a two-year-plus hiatus in January. 

The track is a titanic vessel of musical magic, which remarkably walks the tightrope between upbeat oom-pah indie and sincerity. It is contrapuntal and colourful, offsetting convincingly melancholic details. Going from the gloom of “there are no stars shining” to the idiosyncratic irresistibility of “floating windmills”, the listener experiences a poetic arc, sailing along in the metaphorical ark that the song becomes. The song bubbles with anxiety whilst reflecting on the loss of one world through the lens of another; a lyrical twilight zone of hyper-consciousness punctuated by playful tones.

Tides of sound wash over the listener, layering piano funk with synth, strings, hearty drums, and an even a good ol’ jaw harp. If you want to drown in a torrent of iridescent slush, allow Tugboat Captain to open the flood gates. ‘Deep Sea Diving’ suggests Grizzly Bear and the highs of Lennon’s solo years, yet like an eccentric and moustached crooner resting a velvet elbow on the bar, it is recognisably unique. It feels like the sort of song that should be played at an aquatic wedding, where the suits are pink, and the fish people dance like water.