The Summer Wardrobe: Cajun Prairie Fire

[1 February 2009]

By Sarah Moore

Austin’s The Summer Wardrobe employ a twangy psychedelic mixture for their concept album Cajun Prairie Fire. The quartet calls themselves “Southern Dream Pop”. The multi-layered sci-fi legend begins in a post-apocalyptic Bayou with our hero leaving for New Mexico. He is now called “Ocotillo Sundown”. Here he begins a Cajun-Marxist-Leninist band of cowboys, and he returns to Louisiana to find more troops. He gathers these “Cajun swamp fighters to march onto the sinful sagebrush state of naughty Nevada.” The rest of the story involves grave plots and ghosts, a masquerading quack, and an empty moral to the story. With such psychedelic subject matter comes an equally layered and fantastic record. 

The entire record feels like an epic blending of country, psychedelic and spacey prog rock. “Baby, Let’s Switch Graves” switches from a Southern sound with John Leon on pedal steel guitar and Jon Sanchez’s slightly-strained lead vocals. Drummer George Duron maintains a bouncy rhythm involving hand claps and rim shots. Instead of vocal harmonies, the stacked unison singing helps the song feel more like a stoner country anthem than Southern crooner rock. Tom Petty might be jealous. The bridge begins with a 1960s girl group horn section and tambourines and tumbles into an extended call-and-response shouting against jangling guitar work. The group’s multi-instrumentalists bring a giant sound to the psych pop format. Instruments like sitar, orchestra bells, baritone guitar (an indicator of authentic country), accordion, and omnichord assure this record is never boring.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/69326-the-summer-wardrobe-cajun-prairie-fire/