Forget medical school, start a band. That seemed to be California Wives lead singer Jayson Kramer’s thought when he dropped his schoolbooks and picked up the keyboard. Instead of dissecting human anatomy, Kramer and his companions constructed a majestic debut record: “Art History.”
The album highlights California Wives’ ability to sample from established musical groups, but maintain a sound of their own. Kramer’s vocals reference the whispery rasp of Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan, while the instrumentals evoke the laidback nature of Real Estate.
Listeners are certain to find similarities between California Wives and fellow indie wunderkinds Wild Nothing given their shared producer, Claudius Mittendorfer. His magic touch is easily recognizable on tracks such as “Blood Red Youth” and “Light Year.” Glimmering guitars, wavy synthesizers and a propelling bass line contribute to a peppy feel throughout the album.
Many artists refer to their albums in terms of seasons. “Art History” is firmly rooted in the lazy and carefree nature of summer. It is the perfect soundtrack for late afternoon drives, nap-inducing hammocks and porch hangouts.
California Wives has created an easily likable debut with “Art History.” Listeners will find it hard to shy away from tracks that convey liveliness and bliss.
Overall rating: 3 stars
California Wives’ debut album stuns the indie scene with its solid rock melodies and instrumentals.