Release Date: Apr 30, 2013
Record label: Secretly Canadian
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock
Does a band have to sacrifice its intellect for an infectious pop melody? Cayucas attempt to answer that question on this, their debut effort. The brainchild of Zach Yudin, the LA-based outfit show their range on an eight-song collection that features “Cayucos” and “High School Lover,” both tracks that have garnered some radio attention and with good reason: they’re catchy tunes blending electronica seamlessly with breezy pop and perhaps serve as the best reflections of the band’s MO. The non-electronic tracks have a retro, ’60s-era California pop vibe, like the groovy “Will ‘The Thrill’” and the pleasant “A Summer Thing,” both of which would soundtrack an evening beachside campfire beautifully.
Just when it seemed the wave of beachy bands that swept over indie rock in the late 2000s had finally crashed, along came Cayucas and their debut, Bigfoot. While Zach Yudin's deceptively innocent melodies and boyish vocals recall the likes of the Drums and Surfer Blood, his take on this sound is a little quirkier and more introspective; if those bands are frolicking in the sun and sand, then Yudin is lying on a towel reading a good book. Indeed, he took a fairly scholarly approach to writing and crafting Bigfoot's songs, culling samples from eclectic mid-20th century sources like the Animals and Harry Belafonte and piecing them together into collage-pop that was nostalgic for no time and place in particular, yet capable of evoking specific memories.
Nothing screams summer quite like indie pop and sunshine, does it? Together, the two are an irresistible combination, soundtracking rose-tinted notions of fun, frolics and whatever else equates to youthful good times these days. It's no wonder so many bands pursue a sun-soaked aesthetic. After all, hit the right vein of ebullient melodies and you're guaranteed a run of upper-billing festival appearances and a relentless sweep of airplay between June and September.
Next time some jerk tries to act like there aren’t any transcendental, life-changing bands in indie rock right now, slide them a copy of Cayucas’ Bigfoot, cross your arms and wait for the spoils of victory. To clarify a bit, this Santa Monica tropical-pop act does not strike me as transcendental or life-changing, though they could play a role in some really chill BBQs in the coming months. Rather, spend any amount of time with Bigfoot or, more pointedly, their video for "High School Lover", and something becomes very, very clear: There is almost no doubt that things just haven’t been the same for Zach Yudin since he heard the first Vampire Weekend LP.
Zach Yudin, the main man behind Secretly Canadian signees Cayucas, has bided his time well. The Cayucos, CA native’s surf-inspired debut features songs that first caught waves under his previous recording moniker – Oregon Bike Trails – but have been reworked and reheated with Yudin helming a five-piece band for debut album Bigfoot. The band wear their influences on short sleeves without subtle gestures or sleights of hand.
So you know how cold it is and how much we’re all complaining? Well, you might want to stick this album on, lie beneath a lamp, close your eyes and pretend you’re in sunny California. ‘Big Foot’ is the debut album from Santa Monica indie band Cayucas, named after Cayucos, a small, sleepy town on the California coastline, still existing happily in a 60s beach bum-surfer craze nostalgia. This sense of looking backwards and seeking pleasure in the past plays a key role in shaping the record, with 60s and 70s-era rock serving as the base on which front man Zach Yudin and his band were able to build something new, true to its roots but playfully and carefully altered.
Cayucas’ Bigfoot is a short and sweet instant charmer. The album’s eight songs each hover around the 3 and a half-minute mark, never overstaying their welcome. The sound is relentlessly warm and tropical, with rickety high-pitched keys, light and breezy percussion, and calm, echoed vocals. Lead singer Zach Yudin’s stories blend together, as if he’s trying to soundtrack his own coming-of-age indie romance –on three separate tracks, Yudin recalls a “high school lover,” a “summer thing,” and an “east coast girl.” Bigfoot brings to mind two of the best quick-hitting debut albums in recent indie-rock history – the self-titled full-lengths of Vampire Weekend and Cults.