Sic Alps – Napa Asylum

Finally, new Sic Alps! It’s been a few years since the fantastic US E.Z. came out. Waiting sucked a big one, but the band’s delivered with a discfull of brand new, sun-kissed, reverb-hissed, noise-damaged poppy psychy rock. I had fun trying to sing along to fast-favourites without consulting the lyrics sheet. “Eat Happy” chugs along, hugs along to one chord of an eventual three-chord kicker that hooks you in then… just stops. Bastards! (I was singing along “Beep beep beep…” to what was actually “Eat eat eat… eat happy.”) Then you’ve got songs like “Trip Train” and the wonderfully titled “Wasted At Church” that build on a fuzzed-out loop and noisy blasts of distortion that look back on the sound of their early tapes. About half of the songs on this disc don’t break the “perfect pop song” length (2:42, duh).  “Ball of Fame” and “Saint Peter Writes His Book” combined don’t even come close, but throw enough earworms out that anyone listening will hit <back> as the last note decays out the speakercone. And what about the gauzy, Archies-jangle of “Cement Surfboards?” Or the twilight blues of “Nathan Livingston Maddox?” Or maybe the fury of the MC5-like garage stomper “The First White Man To Touch California Soil?” There’s so much awesome packed into this package that it’s impossible to pick a “best.” So, person of discerning musical taste; remember when you digested GBV’s Alien Lanes? The noise, the variety, the hooks, the “Hey, I wanna try that!” feeling? Well here, feel it again. You’re welcome. (Drag City, Patrick Michalishyn