Review Summary: Breezy, whimsical pop just in time for summer.
Straight out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Bill Ricchini feels like a soul misplaced. Here’s a man who has Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys written all over him, and his sunny brand of pop music beckons the mind towards beach fronts – not traffic jams. Nevertheless, he sounds like he’s lived his entire life catching waves and making footprints in the sand. His eponymous debut garnered plenty of praise for its lush ‘60s-era arrangements, and he’s chosen to pursue that path as far as it will take him. With Summer Fiction’s sophomore release Himalaya
, the melodies flow even more effortlessly, proving that Ricchini’s natural west coast vibe flows from an intrinsic pool of talent that surely won’t expire any time soon.
does not deliver anything surprising. It’s breezy, whimsical pop music just in time for summer. With that said, it wastes little time attempting to overstep its bounds. ‘Dirty Blonde’ and ‘Perfume Paper’ afford Himalaya
a rather grand entrance, with the former bouncing atop upbeat piano notes akin to Jack’s Mannequin’s Everything In Transit
while the latter flows effortlessly between crystalline guitar chords that echo with the free air of a summer drive spent with the car roof down. ‘Lauren Lorraine’ is a quaint little cut, featuring the album’s most memorable chorus – even if it becomes a tad repetitive after the first few renditions. As the album commences without a hitch, it’s pleasantly surprising how it continues to roll along smoothly even after the best tracks are out of the way. ‘Genevieve’ thrives on its lax, inner peace-inducing verses, harkening back to Frankie Valli’s 1967 staple ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’, and the piano instrumental ‘Manchester’ serves as a shady reprieve from the midday heat. Himalaya
may indeed be a simple album, but it’s devoid of filler.
Summer Fiction’s second release is one of those albums that marks a pleasant, if unchallenging, listen. However, that’s the point – no one is going to fault Ricchini for delivering exactly what he intends to. It’s lazy, pretty pop that sounds best with a margarita in your cup holder in front of a sky blue ocean. With predictably romantic lyrics and the wrenching sting of unrequited love, this is an album that would make any fan of ‘60s surf pop proud. So grab a beach towel and head for salty air. With a copy of Himalaya
in your hand, the experience couldn’t feel any more authentic.