22 Records 2021
With a twinkle and a twang, American aficionados of catchy tune repurpose and enhance their recent output.
When this pair of psych-pop melodicists first embarked on a joint adventure, their song cycles felt self-sufficiently hermetic, and though "San Fernando Beat" was followed by "San Fernando Blitz" down the same stylistic path, the EPs seemed rather independent. Still, the artists didn’t see it that way and, reshuffling the dozen of pieces and adding three fresh cuts to the line-up, the friends found a new context for the previously issued numbers and came up with a full-length album to solidify their united front.
Given that the opener of “San Fernando Blast” is the unfamiliar, if immediately radiant, “Adrienne” – which will rise from the simple voice-and-strum start to gain a soft guitar-and-brass riff and keep company with such enchanting acquaintances as “Melody Anne” and “Chloe’s Gone” – there’s a different ground established from the very beginning. So once the sweet “Pay It Any Mind” swirls around the listener’s ears, all the mind waves are bound to be affected by a sense of wonder, but the charming ballad “Heart In Your Hands” holds enough harmonious assault in its multiple layers to make the infectious, piano-helped handclaps of “C’mon C’mon C’mon” almost startling, and let the retrofuturistic “Under The Sun” – at the same time, a precursor and a successor to the big-chorused “Facing The End Of The World” – drift into focus.
And while the Fabs-influenced “Any Time Of Day” and the raving “Why Make Promises?” might be the most arresting of these songs, Sandy’s vocals warm and welcoming and Fern’s six strings alluringly twanging, “Single Flowers” offers a darker hue to the overall image. However, the insertion of “Got Me Where You Want Me” doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do, and there’s a sensory lapse in the record’s flow – same as with “Fake” later on – the slack that the groovy “Living On The West Side” and the orchestral “Seven Words” pick up with a smile.
The result is tasty – it’s certainly not a compilation now, it’s an album – and non-hermetic anymore. It surely can be continued, if Perdomo and McKnight are up for the task.