Artist : San Cisco
Jordi Davieson - guitar, keyboards, lead vocals
Josh Biondillo - guitar, keyboards, vocals
Nick Gardner - bass, keyboards
Scarlett Stevens - drums, vocals
2. Rocket Ship
"Cause reckless is fun when you're not the one that gets hurt"
Awkward is the second EP by Fremantle based Indie Pop outfit San Cisco and demonstrates a natural progression from their first release Golden Revolver. The EP has been receiving extended airplay via Triple J but hasn't overly won over the commercial channels. Which isn't a surprise as they tend to be a turgid mix of plastic manufactured pop, Alan Jones brain spasms, or simply the hits of pass decades as apparently according to some stations nothing new is being released. Naturally the Js are going to be enough to extend San Cisco's target audience and seep into other demographics, so no foul being called there. Hey and it meant the Band came to the attention of ScaryMinds, which to be honest can be heaven or hell at the best of times.
So this is my first review for Uncle Scary and I got tossed Awkward with the firm demand that I stick to the word limit, unlike the other Reviewers who tend to wax lyrical about whatever they are currently writing about. So if this sucks it's due to my inability to string a coherent thought together, I promise to get better. Let's rock the Kasbah.
The EP launches with the titular track Awkward, a sort of blend of primeval guitar chords and strong drum beats that is to date the most commercial track released by San Cisco. While the track would appear to be an ode to modern communication, and perhaps reflects Japanese concerns with modern forms of communication actually isolating people, see Pulse etc, it's certainly catchy enough and no doubt already features on the playlists of the majority MP3 players in this Country. Davieson and Stevens' harmonies on the track are a highlight on a well constructed pop number that should have most punters happy with the EP for this track alone.
Davieson's distinctive vocals are prominent on the second, and for mine best, track on the EP Rocket Ship. Nick Gardner's bass moves are more notable on this track than on Awkward, lending a driving beat to the track that compliments the at times complex lyrical movements. The Band are mixing a number of styles on this track that keep their eccentric pop orientated sound to the fore. Not sure if this style of music is sustainable in the long term, but it certain adds the catch and had me jiving to the beat.
Lover, the third track on the EP, works pretty much the same as Rocket Ship with some risks being taken in what should otherwise be a standard pop anthem. There's a real 1980s Aussie feel to this one that recalls bands like Men At Work or perhaps Pop Mechanix. You will find yourself grooving here, as the track sums up San Cisco's garage pop output that breaths some fresh life into the otherwise stale middle of the road commercially manufactured pop scene.
[Editor's Note: Pop Mechanix were in fact a Kiwi outfit, but I take your point]
Taking it slightly more serious the longest track on the EP 505 show cases San Cisco's ability to move from the surreal pop zone into the more traditional song construction. There's no gimmicks with this track, we're talking a straight pop number with some Doors inspired keyboard riffs coming at you. The whole Band are putting into this one with Stevens and Gardner driving the up tempo. Considering the rest of the EP sounds like the band are simply enjoying themselves and seeing what they can do, 505 is the track that points out what future directions San Cisco could, if they choose, head in. Possibly not the track for existing fans of the Band, but certainly the track that caught me wanting to check out the San Cisco's next musical journey.
The EP concludes with the ballad Reckless that brings things back to ground with a solid, if not spectacular track, that worked for me. Jordi Davieson's vocals are pushed to the limit with the song, and there is a feeling that maybe another guitar was needed in parts, but the important point to note is the track simply does what it has to do without any unneeded embellishments. A good song to put on during beers on a lazy Sunday afternoon, which I naturally did to good reactions and a number of people asking me who the band were.
Awkward is one of those releases where the whole somehow supersedes independent tracks to have you repeating the whole EP rather than single tracks. While the titular track is certainly the most accessible for new listeners, San Cisco's sound has something for each of us, from esoteric pop deities to serious ballads. If you haven't been digging this band already then this EP is the one to get your Cisco on with. Bring on the next release, I'm going to be all over it like a lizard drinking.
With this review I've tried to follow the style previous Reviewers have used and it's up to the Reader to determine if it rocked or went limp. Whatever, rock on, and I'll hit the next review in a couple of weeks.