PopMatters home | short takes home | archivesPopMatters Music Short Takes
California Snow Story, One Good Summer (Shelflife)
There tends to be a connection between high-end pop music and the United Kingdom. Whether you're talking about Blur and Pulp or lesser known acts like Appendix Out or Belle and Sebastian, the Brits seem to know how to go about doing it right. Another act creating a bit of a buzz across the pond is Glasgow's California Snow Story, a quartet that uses flutes, guitars, and glockenspiels to get their message across. The debut EP is proof you'll hear more about them and from them in the near future. "The Only One That Matters" is the opener and gets right to the heart of the sound -- a tight and melodic pop tune that recalls the aforementioned bands and also Delgados. "We could be far away from here", sings Anna Barrek as the drums keep everything in check for three minutes. "Summer Avenues" is a tad more, er, summery sounding as David Skirving takes over the lead vocals. It doesn't quite work as well, but Barrek's "ba ba ba da" is a welcomed addition. It also possesses a slight lounge sound effect but never diminishes the song. "Out of Time" (not to be confused with the Rolling Stones tune of the same name) is more in keeping with the band's melodic pop nature. Light harmonies mesh spectacularly with the basic acoustic guitar strumming and minimal bass line. "Snow in Summer" is another solid tune recalling early Velvet Underground with Nico. This is probably the EP's highlight, a shimmering pop tune. At five songs, the short but extremely sweet nature of the music is its selling point. "Lovestrange" is similar to the last two tracks, a fine pop song more bands on this side should do or at least attempt.