Saturday, 18 May 2013

Album review: Cayucas - Bigfoot

Nothing screams summer quite like indie pop and sunshine, does it? Together, the two are an irresistible combination, soundtracking rose-tinted notions of fun, frolics and whatever else equates to youthful good times these days. It's no wonder so many bands pursue a sun-soaked aesthetic. After all, hit the right vein of ebullient melodies and you're guaranteed a run of upper-billing festival appearances and a relentless sweep of airplay between June and September.

Cayucas are, unquestionably, shooting for this sphere of the indie pop canon. Given the quintet hail from the shores of Santa Monica, California, this shouldn’t come as much surprise; sunshine is in their blood. If ever a band was to embody a baking, breezy day on the beach, they would be it. Up-tempo, infectious indie-pop isn’t just their schtick, it’s what they were made for.

Which is probably a good thing. Because this world’s way too monochrome these days. Think of all the shit we hear about on a 24 hour basis: austerity, poverty, political sleaze, child labour, Nigel-fucking-Farage. Now think about Cayacus’ debut long-player Bigfoot: an aired out flush of romantic jingle-jangling that trades only in subject matter a love-struck school kid could feasibly care about. Sounds refreshing, right? Well, it is. Kind of.

 You see this is an album you can come at from two levels. On the one hand, tracks like ‘Cayucos’ and ‘East Coast Girl’ generate the sort of tropical rhythmic gaze that made Vampire Weekend such a unavoidable proposition in the first place. Each cut is unashamedly pop, filled with chasms of reverb and joyous reels of melody. ‘High School Lover’ is even sweeter, shooting out a fumble of drum and chiming guitars as vocalist Zach Yudin yearns for the memory of a lost mid-school sweetheart.

Yet it’s for these same reasons Bigfoot loses some of its sheen. This is an album filled with throwaway indie pop statements that lack any kind of staying power. Sure, ‘A Summer Thing’ is a gratifying three minutes of swooning piano twinkles, but it hardly rivals 'Wouldn’t It Be Nice'. Likewise, ‘Deep Sea’ is an ornate stroll of sea-shell harmonies and wide-eyed dreaminess, yet when it’s over it’s as forgettable as a watered-down margarita on a package holiday in Cyprus.

And, ultimately, it comes down to what you want from your sun-stroked indie pop. If emotional depth is what you’re after, these eight tracks are never likely to be your bag. But, if you can take Bigfoot for the sun-blushed, sweet-natured collection of songs that it is, then this could be the soundtrack to your summer. All you’d need then is a little sunshine.

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