San Cisco debut album reviewed by Northern Transmissions, out July 16 on RCA

Artist: San Cisco
Title: San Cisco
Record Label: RCA
Rating: 7.0/10

Even though Tame Impala and San Cisco share different musical blueprints, they both call Western Australia home, with Perth and Fremantle being their respective dwellings. Two points of order here: it would seem there’s been a sonic evolution down under, gone are the days of bands aping the dinosaur rock of AC/DC, equally the knuckle headed dance/rock of Pendulum doesn’t factor in either bands DNA. Where Tame Impala favour the woozy side of psychedelia, San Cisco trade in synth pop that touches on Metronomy sans the eccentricity.

The Metronomy influence is apparent on ‘Awkward’, a standout track from the band’s self titled debut, which sounds like the Antipodean cousin of ‘Everything Goes My Way’ thanks to Jordi Davieson’s (vocals/guitar) and Scarlett Stevens’ (drums/vocals) call and response vocals merged with stunted riffs and stomping drums. Much of the band’s debut LP quivers with youthful exuberance, rolling out like a Facebook newsfeed projecting tales of drunken mistakes, failed attempts at love and…more failed attempts at love! Not to harp on about ‘Awkward’ but this ditty is the jewel in the band’s crown, whilst being a thorn in their side. When Stevens and Davieson trade vocals the band sound at their most enticing but the stickswoman’s voice isn’t given enough spotlight on the band’s epnonymous effort.

San Cisco join a long lineage of bands that combine the sweet sounding carelessness of pop with dark, brooding lyrics, ‘Mission Failed’ combines the dual vocals that work so well with crunchy synths and rapid fire hi hat stabs, “I love to hear your lies/when you tell me we’ll be friends/I can see it in your eyes/ I’ll never see you again” is the sinister snippet from this murky number. ‘Lyall’ garners a Beach Boys vibe thanks to ample dollops of jaunty piano and “lalalalala” backing vocals, whilst the sun is shining musically, Davieson tells a different story, “You thought you’d have one more/now look at you/your paralytic on the floor”, we’ve all been there right?!

In amongst the synth pop, San Cisco have crow-barred in a raucous side, ‘No Friends’ is a scratchy riffed rock ‘n’ roll number that fizzes like table spoons of sugar being hurled into a pint of Coke. “You’ve got no friends to call your own/All you do is bitch and moan” harsh words centered on a serious black sheep syndrome. ‘Stella’ is cut from similar cloth, but with a poppier shade.

San Cisco have laid down a solid foundation with their debut LP, all they need to do is give Stevens some more mic time, push their electronic influence out of its comfort zone, embrace their rowdy edge and LP2 will be a ripper.

Words and Thoughts of Adam Williams

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