Cayucas are totally from California. Less than a minute into their first album and they’re already mythologising crashing waves and sandy dunes over a stupidly sunkissed guitar. Sauntering on just the right side of cool, they’re songs thump without clatter, powered by beachball bounce basslines and Zach Yudin’s easy croon, which coos, pleads, and languidly stretches between Beck style slacker and Ezra Koenig prep school heartthrob.
Daydreaming a timeless fantasy of summer seaside sunsets, Big Foot is half an hour of finely spun pop, light as air and deceptively simple. Beach Boys comparisons are hard to live up to, but the pretty percussive chimes, barber shop harmonies and plucked surf strings of mid-album track A Summer Thing have Yudin display a deft handling of Brian Wilson’s building blocks. Elsewhere the clean lines are blurred with artfully applied touches of grit. New single East Coast Girl has all the hand claps, whoops and chubby bass strut of a summer festival hit. At first glance the lyrics match – a standard tale of lust for the girl of the title, but shards of darkness snag; the girl flees the city ‘ignoring the bums in cardboard boxes begging for money’ and ‘wondering what happened to the California sun she used to know’. It’s hardly Crystal Castles’ existentialism, but it offers more depth than the sparkling harmonies would lead you to believe.
Whilst tracks Cayucos and former single High School Lover stick to East Coast Girl’s neatly executed upbeat pop template, on Deep Sea the band opt for stranger shapes, rolling out a hula skirt twitching shuffle replete with curious little whistles and ticks. It speaks of ambition beyond 3 minute heartbreak ballads, and is the first of a trilogy of woozy numbers that play the album out, with both Ayawa ‘Kya and closer Big Foot adding dashes of electronica and loose limbed junkyard percussion, til the effect is like the California Raisins covering Tom Waits.
As an opening statement Big Foot does the business. 8 songs, and not a duffer amongst them, Cayucas are as comfortable with radio friendly indie pop as they are with wonky, sweet toothed experimentation, and their music is ready to play from sundown til deep into the fire lit night… Recommended. 8/10