Band: California Wives
Album: Affair EP
Release Date: September 3, 2010
After multiple listens to California Wives‘ new EP, Affair, its take-home message is all but resoundingly clear to me: These boys have matured.
I won’t pretend to be some mega fan of the Chicago-based quartet prior to listening to Affair. Before the EP, I’d seen ’em play live once and had a handful of their songs at my disposal. Yet based on what I was used to with these dudes, the new stuff is cleaner, catchier and way more complex. Attention to detail — especially in the album’s instrumental arrangements — has increased considerably.
This isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy their earlier material. If this were true, then I wouldn’t have rushed over to Wicker Park Fest last weekend to make it in time for their noontime set. It’s just that it’s clear to me that Jayson Kramer and his ‘mates have moved closer to the band they want to be by developing a sound that I want to say is unique to California Wives.
It’s exciting, really, to see bands as passionate as these indie-poppers progress in that direction.
In Affair, one thing the boys prove they can do well is create great movement in their music. “Photolights,” for example, builds from a lowly paced thing — led by a fun keyboard hook — to the loudest track on the album thanks to pounding drums and heavy guitar. The transition is so great so as to give you chills. I know this because I get them just about every time I listen to the song.
Something similar occurs in “Blood Red Youth” and “Twenty Three.” In those tracks, however, the build is emphasized by Kramer’s pitch. He goes from gentle singing to, like, impassioned yelling. And it’s awesome.
It probably goes without saying that indie-pop/rock fans will likely dig what the group has been hard at work on. I’m anxious myself to hear what others — people at least familiar with California Wives in particular — have to say about the new material.
- California Wives, of Chicago, is comprised of Jayson Kramer (vocals, keys, guitar), Dan Zima (vocals, keys, guitar), Hans Michel (guitar, keys) and Joe O’Connor (drums)
- California Wives is offering free downloads of “Blood Red Youth” — off the new EP. You can find it here.
- The band is playing a free show at the Apple Store in downtown Chicago this Saturday at 2 p.m. Click here for details.
- California Wives will officially release Affair EP during a record release show at Schubas. Tickets are just $5, and you can get ’em here.