[sic] Magazine

Death And Vanilla – California Owls EP

In the middle of a torrid Beijing summer, I needed something to slake my thirst. As the beads of sweat ran down my face and evaporated before hitting the ground, I found myself in a frantic state of mind. Gone were the vendors selling ice cold water by the side of the street, and as delirium started to take over I decided I could walk no further and found a space of curb to sit on. Looking down at the asphalt road I could see heat waves radiating off of the passing cars. As the billowing mix of solar radiation and exhaust fumes began to overwhelm me, the glare of the sun reduced to a late day glow and then faded to black. As my body began to shut down my mind started to wander. Like Don Draper in the final episode of Madmen, I too started to sing I’d like to buy the world a Coke, but before my Zen moment of clarity, it started to snow. The early 70s ‘Up, Up and Away’ vibe of the Coke commercial replaced with a re-imagining of ‘California Dreamin’ by the Mamas and the Papas.

The track ‘California Owls’ is all corduroy fabric and feel good glow, mixed in a cotton candy mélange of bleeps and blips and ornithological chirps. ‘Follow the Light’ follows and is a beautiful melancholy drenched pop tune. Throw in some tremolo-laden synthesizer flourishes and the whir of an organ, and then imagine yourself in Malmö on a late fall day as the rain gives way to some frighteningly saturated blue skies. ‘Reality From Dream’ has a Legendary Pink Dots vibe about it. The haunting, decayed sound of an old 78 record gives way to tremolo-saturated vocals that have an unnerving, childlike simplicity about them.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time listening to the band’s LP To Where The Wild Things Are that came out in May. I’m impressed not only by the band’s musical chops but their cinematic flair. I do believe the band is scoring an as yet untitled film that is playing solely inside their head. We may never see the final cut but it’s these isolated scenes that will stay with you for a long time.

California Owls will be released August 21st 2015.

[sic] review: Death And Vanilla – To Where The Wild Things Are

Death and Vanilla Bandcamp

Release at Fire Records

Band at Fire Records