Release Date: Jun 23, 2015
Record label: Secretly Canadian
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Pop
From the opening notes of Dancing at the Blue Lagoon, you can tell that it’s going to be an adventurous album to say the least. A slow droning mix of synth and strings gradually blossoms with deep, muted horns and eventually erupts into an orchestral excursion of Afro-pop-inspired psych. That opening track of “Big Winter Jacket” sets the excitement levels high for this album, and, frankly, they maintain that pace throughout the duration of Dancing at the Blue Lagoon.
Plagiarism may be considered the greatest form of flattery, but it's never a good look for the perceived offender. It's something Cayucas know only too well. The Santa Monica ensemble's debut LP Bigfoot was cast aside as a pale Vampire Weekend simulation, despite (or in spite of) its jaunting indie pop and sea-breezy aesthetic. .
Following Bigfoot's success, Cayucas' Zach and Ben Yudin drafted producer Ryan Hadlock to work on Dancing at the Blue Lagoon. Hadlock, whose other clients include the Lumineers and Brandi Carlile, lends the band's second album an expensive sheen: "Ditches"' flutes and pianos are downright lush, while the acoustic guitar on the title track is nothing less than flawless. Touches like these might objectively sound better than Bigfoot, but they don't do the band any favors.
Ever since Cayucas changed its name from Oregon Bike Trails and signed with Secretly Canadian, singer-songwriter Zach Yudin has struggled to find a distinctive voice. Bigfoot, the Santa Monica, California band’s debut album, sported some catchy choruses and quirky syncopation, but the similarities to Vampire Weekend were simply too strong to ignore. In an unsparing review, Pitchfork’s Ian Cohen poked fun at Yudin for plagiarizing Ezra Koening’s “vocal inflection, choice of guitar, taste in graphic design, and footwear selection.