Album Review: San Cisco – Gracetown

Gracetown by San Cisco

#aotd is Gracetown by San Cisco. Musically, this album is pretty standard Indie-Pop/Rock with a twee sensibility and a focus on short, sharp songs with catchy hooks. Indie-Pop is a notoriously crowded genre with a lot of similar-sounding mediocre bands who churn out shallow, superficial tracks with zero risk-factor. With Gracetown, San Cisco is perilously close to being grouped with these mediocre bands. What saves this album from being totally vapid is the instrumental variation from track to track. While the core instrumentation remains the same, synths, guitar and drums played with the same sort of overproduced flair familiar to anyone who has listened to the genre; there are still some unique touches which help San Cisco sound more distinctive. These include the driving vocal sample on “Magic” and the strange retro sci-fi styled synths on “Bitter Winter”. The male/female vocal harmonies are also a prevalent part of the album and what makes the band stand out in the first place. These are at their best on the great track “Super Slow” where both singers trade lines over uncharacteristically woozy instrumentation; it’s a shame the track is over so quickly. While there are other spots where the harmonies work, much of the vocal performance on this album is ridiculously sloppy. The track “Snow” starts off promising but as it approaches the hook the vocalist kicks into this horribly obnoxious falsetto which just kills the build-up completely. It’s almost like San Cisco buy into their fun-loving aesthetic a little too much, you guys can have fun and all, but can you at least sound like you’re trying? The album is also criminally underwritten, with tracks like “Mistakes” and the previously mentioned “Super Slow” flying by without reaching any kind of meaningful conclusion. San Cisco do manage to carve out some of their own unique identity with Gracetown but with a seemingly half-hearted approach to songwriting and performance the band are making the process far more painful than it needs to be.
Rating: 2.7/5

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