Summer is finally here. Know how I know? Because I've got my sights on something I've been waiting far too long for (just like the sun), the debut Pas/Cal album. There isn't a better way to welcome the warm summer sun than by playing some of the most joyous pop music around. After much talk of releasing a full album, Pas/Cal is finally here to deliver just that. If you haven't heard of Pas/Cal yet, it's a real shame. Having been around for over six years, the band has released a trio of EP's, sold a few songs for commercials and TV programs and has made the world a sunnier place.
Their first EP, The Handbag Memoirs was released in 2002 to a good amount of praise and attention. 2004 saw the release of another EP, Oh Honey, We're Ridiculous. The guys in Pas/Cal were able to help companies like Sprint and Saturn sell some goods by scoring some commercials, which I'm sure paid a few bills. Two years later the band brought their third EP, Dear Sir, along with talk of their full length debut. Another two years have gone by and finally the day is upon us.
Pas/Cal bring with them a sunny, melancholy chamber pop sounds similar to that of Beulah and the poppiest side of Belle & Sebastian. The happiest instrumentation you can imagine under some occasionally depressing lyrics. Whichever way you look at it, it's enjoyable fun. You can't help but smile when you hear lyrics like I'm Ridiculous / To think I'd be famous / By dumping the doldrums / So I took aim / and I shot a man just for snoring. Keep in mind those lyrics are sung with plenty of "oohs" and "aahs" accompanying power chords and fun organ progressions. It's too cute for words and slaps a smile on your sunburned face.
The music (both recorded and in a live setting) oozes with charm. Seeing as how it took so long to craft this long player, there are a few repetitious moments that could have been cut a little short, but that is par for the course with any album that is labored over for longer than a year or two. Rock out little gems like the precious, "Summer Is Almost Here," as well as the driving "Little Red Radio" (even though it's a song about Christmas) are bound to blast from all the hybrid convertibles you pass as you stroll down the pier this summer. The end of the album finds a trio of cherry themed songs ("Cherry Needs A Name," "Cherry Tree," "O My Cherry") and each song melts into the next. It makes me think the band had another EP in mind, but decided to push themselves into creating the full length they've been promising for far too long.
This summer, as you search for that pop organ, handclap inducing sound, remember the boys in Pas/Cal. Their catalogue isn't unmanageable and they deliver charming chamber pop that is guaranteed to cheer you up, no matter your mood. Summer is here; time to celebrate with the clever music makers in Pas/Cal.
"Summer Is Almost Here"