True to their throwback ‘60s sound San Francisco duo Sic Alps have been releasing music on cassette tapes and 7-inches through the label Animal Disguise for the past couple of years. And although their recent full-length, U.S. EZ, is available in the more modern format of compact disc the group still wallows in similiar territory, this time with the Philly-based label Siltbreeze, the same dude who brought us Eat Skull, Times New Viking, and Psychedelic Horseshit.
Although music writers must shy away from the industry’s new four-letter-word, “lo-fi”, Sic Alps use a stripped-down approach normally attributed to said term. Their drums are coated with distortion and their dual vocals emerge through a cloud of hissing four-track fuzz. Even though the band sullies their instruments with fuzzy-psych flavors it’s the tight-knit vocal harmonies that make Sic Alps both palatable and reminiscent of the glory days of ’60s psych-folk.
On U.S. EZ Matt Hartman and Mike Donovan give us a moderately healthy dose of their hazy psych-folk sound. They ratchet up their jangly distortion with the delicious riffage of “Bathman”, “Mater”, and opener “Massive Place”, where Hartman’s drums sound like they just fell out of a closet. But it’s when they turns the knobs down a bit that the duo’s latent harmonies emerge more clearly. “Gelly Roll Gumdrop”, Everywhere, There”, and “Sing Song Waitress” are lazy and mellowed out, with ghostly harmonies that echo and reverberate like old-school analog.
U.S. EZ should garner enough attention so that Sic Alps won’t be releasing music on casette tapes again. But the band probably prefers the grooves and scratches of a wax record, sounding like they emerged from a dusty old milk crate.