Sandy McKnight 2020
Following their muse in the jingle jangle morning, mainstays of American modern rock scene join forces for a bunch of honeyed performances.
There was bound to be a bond between these two musos – one an experienced purveyor of power pop, the other a young Laurel Canyon maven – so when they started recording together, a trip to the ’60s seemed inevitable. Its results don’t sound like escapism, though, and the smell of pastiche emanating from the 19-minute EP can’t diminish good vibrations that the mini-album’s songs send into the ether. In other words, “San Fernando Beat” will get the listener in the groove.
Deliberately patinated in terms of sound – with Fernando’s retrofuturistic Farfisa spicing up Sandy’s sweet strum – yet as relevant in Covid-19 period as it could be during the Cold War days, “Facing The End Of The World” shrouds multi-tracked vocals in psychedelic bliss to make Armageddon if not a welcome prospect then a domestic issue, because meeting one’s demise undressed may look like a defiant stance. Less tuned into timelessness, “Single Flowers” feels much darker and sparser but also somewhat warmer, its faux-orchestral, lysergic flow bubbling with bass, while “Chloe’s Gone” offers a soft, lyrical affair to observe and lets guitars weave a kaleidoscopic web.
Where a wondrous wobble renders “Heart In Your Hands” an admirable ballad that’s getting high on six-string harmonies, stricken with a solemn piano and meandering Mellotron, “Any Time Of Day” has memorable licks smeared all over its playful melody which is redolent of The Fabs’ early oeuvre. Yet pseudo-spiritual chants at the end of “Fake” bring on anticlimax of sorts, evoking a question of whether a full-length album should be produced. As a short form, “San Fernando Beat” can’t be beat.