San Cisco: The Definitive Guide

Sean Ward

Design type pokemon, often found in tall grass at festivals covered in mud and neon paint. A strong obsession with tea, cocktails and Kate Bush. Sharing musical nuggets of goodness each week. @Sean_Ward93

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Australian pop rock quartet San Cisco released their debut self titled LP in the UK last week, and to coincide they are currently embarking on one of their largest tours to date.

For those who know nothing about this unique band, they are four friends who attended the same high school. Lead singer Jordi Davieson and drummer Scarlett Stevens have known each other since they were children. The band started making and playing music in 2009 and settled on the name, which apparently has no relation to the city of San Francisco.The band released two early EPs entitled ‘Golden Revolver’ and ‘Awkward’ which were received well by fans and critics in their native Australia. The second EP was also praised by the British media and they began to receive support from the likes of NME, BBC6 Music and XFM to name but a few.

At the end of 2012, San Cisco became the first ever Australian act to sign to Fat Possum Records, based in the States. They released their LP in Australia and the US, but Europe have had to wait 10 months to hear the completed works; I managed to get a copy of the glimmering debut earlier in the year and it became a major part of my summer playlist. The depth and intelligence they put to their songwriting is second to none as they manage to explain complex, relatable details of relationship turmoil with a refreshing perspective.

The darkness of the content is often masked by the bright and breezy tempo and hooks on many tracks, perhaps highlighted best on my personal favourite ‘Wild Things’. Scarlett’s vocal is hushed and melodic on the chorus whilst you’re warned to stay away from the creatures in the forest for fear of a broken nose. ‘Nepal’ talks about unrequited love and the feelings of utter rejection whilst being disguised as an ethereal and lifted pop gem. ‘No Friends’ is frantic and fast paced, reminiscent of their influences Vampire Weekend. It offers incredible summery dance vibes whilst basically calling an ex a massive bitch, clever right?

I had the opportunity to see San Cisco perform live last Wednesday in the intimate temple room of The Institute, Birmingham thanks to the lovely people at Houseof27.com. The band reflect the energetic and jovial nature of their music whilst performing live, they managed to enthuse the audience, who only knew limited material. They responded brilliantly with rapturous applauses after each track and dancing throughout. The likes of ‘Beach’ and ‘Fred Astaire’ are already firm fan favourites and evoked shrieks of excitement from the crowd. The Brummies are never dull to play for. The band do need to look at how they can develop these tracks though to add more anticipation and stretch out the reaction they receive, but this is likely to come as they play larger venues and festivals. New single ‘Awkward’ was my show highlight with a grungey rock breakdown which helped demonstrate that San Cisco aren’t fair weather indie kids, they are skilled musicians with a passion for what they do.

This band are making waves across Australia and America which are two of the hardest countries to track for the indie genre. As Europe slowly succumbs to the shimmering brilliance of their debut LP, I believe San Cisco’s future is as bright as their hooks. The quartet have an invaluable chemistry and work efficiently as a live act. Although their debut album failed to chart in the UK, I am confident their reputation is going to precede them.