Posted on July 29th, 2013 (7:12 am) by Theresa Flanagan

Fremantle, Western Australia - home of the Dockers Football Club, Little Creatures Brewery and the best oh-so-strategically located late night kebab shop to ever fuel a bunch of study abroad students’ newly minted falafel addictions. While I was busy undergoing facial recognition scans just to get into bars and coming to terms with "dirt cheap" meaning five bucks a pint, elsewhere in Freo, a new Aussie addiction was forming. In spite of initial skepticism at a re-release (after all in this digital age once something is available anywhere, isn't it available everywhere?), San Cisco’s eponymous debut is a dark little indie pop gem that’s impossible to ignore. It would be so easy to just dismiss this quartet as a bunch of buzzwords and be done with it, but that wouldn’t do justice to just how irresistibly catchy nearly every track Jordi Davieson, Scarlett Stevens, Josh Biondillo and Nick Gardner have put out is.

It's hard to talk about San Cisco without starting to feel a little patronizing, because avoiding descriptors like "cute" or "sweet" is nearly impossible. Formed when they were all just fifteen and sixteen years old, they're just barely past being a teen pop group. Beneath its candy colored fade cover, San Cisco is surprisingly dark. The U.S. edition includes the title track from their EP Awkward, a back and forth between lead singer Jordi and drummer Scarlett telling both sides in the aftermath of an unsuccessful first date ending on "get out of my life you've been stalking me for days." The exchange allows for comparison to fellow Australian Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know." The situation they're describing involves far less emotional investment, so the fact that the song takes itself much less seriously is unsurprising. It's more appropriate to compare Scarlett's sweetly delivered cut downs with Lilly Allen's Alright, Still. "Awkward" is on the lighter end of San Cisco, in contrast with next track "Hunter," inspired by Davieson's viewing of The Deer Hunter. There's something chilling about the fact that the line "pushed him down to his knees / and he was begging don't kill me please" can be delivered and received with as much ease as it is. The truth is, despite how energetically fun this album is, there is not a single truly happy song on it. With all the charming hooks and feel good jangle though, you could listen to the whole thing ten times over without even noticing that fact.

While its title character's career peak hit slightly earlier, "Fred Astaire" draws its musical influence from the boppy pop of the '50s and '60s. San Cisco bounces all over, managing to be almost as convincingly compelling in its slowed down psyched out moments, like those on "Beach" or "Hunter", as its ebulliently Britpop ones, like "Lyall" or "No Friends." There's a new track to deem a favorite with each listen, as the different elements come out. A lot its charm comes from what a genuinely good time the band seems to be having. While sometimes a band's youthful enthusiasm is their one salient positive, this isn't one of those cases. Just for being able to turn teenage angst on its ear and shake out something that doesn't require using "moody" or "emo" to describe it, they deserve a listen. The fact that the "something" is deliciously catchy pop goodness inspires continued consideration.

San Cisco added in some extras to sweeten the deal on their US release. If you need a little more convincing, check out their cover of "Get Lucky" with a little "Hypnotize U" thrown in for the incredibly Australian Triple J's Like A Version. You may just catch them been breaking it out on their current tour stateside.

Track List:
1. Beach
2. Fred Astaire
3. Awkward
4. Hunter
5. Wild Things
6. No Friends
7. Lyall
8. Metaphors
9. Mission Failed
10. Stella
11. Toast
12. Nepal
13. Outro

San Cisco: San Cisco
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

75 / 100
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