San Cisco
Gracetown


3.3
great

Review

by DaveyBoy STAFF
March 16th, 2015 | 24 replies


Release Date: 03/17/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A band built to thrive on the EP format adds a little more meat to their infectious melodies.

When indie-pop act San Cisco unleashed the infuriatingly catchy 'Awkward' upon the masses in late 2011, they got more than just their foot in the door of the Australian music industry. Landing in the top 10 of a Triple J Hottest 100 (as well as #25 on yours truly's year-end song list), the cutesy tune was highlighted by conversational boy-girl vocals and more "da da da's" than you could count. Even as the song was leaving an indelible mark on all who listened to it, however, one couldn't help but get the feeling that if the Western Australian quartet was to achieve any kind of career longevity, they would have to add a little more meat to their vibrant, bouncy melodies. Their attempt to do so produced mixed results on their self-titled debut LP, while Steven Schram produced follow-up 'Gracetown' charts the same path with a little more success.

Opening strongly with its two lead singles of 'Run' and 'Too Much Time Together', 'Gracetown' continues to display San Cisco's knack for carving out infectious melodies. Hand-claps, funky bass-lines, jangly guitars, spiky keys and even beatboxing is used to lure listeners in, while the dual vocal dynamic of Jordi Davieson and Scarlett Stevens is gradually bought into play. 'Magic' and 'Snow' slow the pace down a little to satisfyingly add a few more layers, while irresistible highlight 'Wash It All Away' presents a summery vibe that befits the album art. Comparisons could be made with any number of indie-pop outfits, but 'Bitter Winter' suggests that the most accurate is Vampire Weekend, since Davieson channels Ezra Koenig to a T.

Of course, where the New York City quartet have it over these young Aussie upstarts is their winning ability to juxtapose their quirky and thoughtful characteristics in a manner which is sufficiently diverse. And while Gracetown's theme of young love adds rewarding cohesion and leads to some clever lyrical phrasing, singing about "first crushes" and "first kisses" is hardly deep subject matter. Further verification of the divide comes from the fact that San Cisco once more stumble as their LP progresses. The more sombre latter half here on 'Gracetown' hints at a more mature inclination which is admirable, but only partially successful. The subdued 'Mistakes' and lo-fi folk of 'Skool' especially fail to impress.

It sounds harsher than it is meant to, but maybe San Cisco are a band built to thrive on the EP format. For the second album in a row, the quartet have produced a strong and enjoyable opening half, before coming a cropper when looking to stretch too far outside of their comfort zone. Having said that, they do take some strides towards growth here with greater complexity in their arrangements and a more cohesive listening experience that nicely comes full circle on funky closer 'Just For a Minute'; the first track San Cisco has recorded which surpasses the four minute mark! It's difficult to deny the hooky melodies contained on 'Gracetown', an LP that is undoubtedly enjoyable in the moment, but has a questionable shelf life.

Recommended Tracks: Wash It All Away, Too Much Time Together, Bitter Winter & Run.




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Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
March 15th 2015


22486 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

This has been out for a week in Australia and is about to get a North American release. It entered the Australian album charts at #2 (behind Madonna), which isn’t a bad result at all.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
March 15th 2015


22486 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Knew you'd be here representing your fellow WA'ites Arcade. If I recall correctly, they're from Fremantle, aren't they?



This album definitely has a summer vibe, but I'm certain you've still got a few days of sun left over there. I wonder if they held back the release date to lead into the Northern hemisphere summer.



I tried to include 'Too Much Time Together' at the bottom of the review, but I'm having troubles embedding it... So 'Run' it will have to be.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
March 15th 2015


22486 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

LOL at "urban bohemia". But their footy team wear purple!



The cyclone in Vanuatu? That's half a world away from you guys. Actually, the east coast of Australia is half a world away from you guys!

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
March 15th 2015


22486 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Too many bl00dy cyclones going around to keep track of.

wtferrothorn
March 16th 2015


5798 Comments


So many recs man

brandontaylor
March 16th 2015


756 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this album seems less instantly catchy than their debut but still very fun. i wonder if this band will ever "mature" their sound, but for now fun works i guess

PappyMason
March 16th 2015


5702 Comments


Nice review, a good read.
The album art looks super chill...

PappyMason
March 16th 2015


5702 Comments


Summer vibes

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
March 16th 2015


22486 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

I usually do 10 recs wtf.



Dunno Brandon. I actually thought he 1st 6 tracks here were more immediate than the 1st 6 tracks off of their self-titled... With the only notable exception being 'Fred Astaire'.



I guess maturing is a relative statement, because they have matured here. But it's not exactly a VW like level of maturing.



Thanks Pappy. Definitely summer vibes.



PappyMason
March 16th 2015


5702 Comments


I had a listen to a couple of the songs earlier on soundcloud and they were pretty fun. I don't know if I would listen to the whole album but I can definitely see why the band have done so well.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
March 16th 2015


22486 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

You're not the only one who thinks that way Pappy. I guess that's why I went with my "a band built to thrive on the EP format" line.

DangerBatty
March 17th 2015


89 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Super Slow is my favorite of the bunch like dang

rasputin
March 17th 2015


14968 Comments


Perth has unleashed quite a number of truly awful bands. San Cisco doesn't top the list but certainly comes close.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
March 17th 2015


22486 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Holy Rasputin sighting. Glad to see you haven't changed mate. :-)



And yeah, I can see 'Super Slow' being a favourite amongst the indie fans around here Danger, but it doesn't do a great deal for me. I know the band themselved like it though.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
March 17th 2015


22486 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Come on guys, Tame Impala and Karnivool aren't that bad. ;-)

rasputin
March 17th 2015


14968 Comments


haha good to see you're still writing strong Davey

but yes these guys are just ugh, probably even worse than tame impala

Pangea
March 17th 2015


2754 Comments


These guys have some fun songs. I wonder how they will do on a full length however. I will probably check this

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
March 17th 2015


22486 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Yeah, I've had a few writing flat-spots Rasputin, but attempting come-back #3 as we speak.



"I wonder how they will do on a full length however"

In 2 halves Pangea. This is like one of those old Side-A & Side-B records, with each side separate from the other.

danielito19
March 17th 2015


12075 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

this is the exact kind of indie that makes me hate indie

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
March 17th 2015


22486 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Harsh man, harsh. I separate indie-pop from indie.



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