I’ve been trying to listen to more "multitasking music" lately: that's my term for those artists and bands that provide interesting background music that isn’t abrasive or distracting while I’m writing or reading, but are also just as satisfying to listen to closely. This is the kind of music Sourpatch makes. A four-piece from San Jose, California, comprised of two ladies on guitars and vocals and two dudes on bass and drums, Sourpatch is of the self-proclaimed “90s pop-worship” genre, although I don’t think that does their unique sound adequate justice.
Most of the songs on their second full-length album, Stagger and Fade, are either about being in giddy “like” (they just don’t feel like love songs), or having one of those painful, amounting-to-nothing-except-taking-up-all-of-the-space-in-your-brain kinds of crushes. But sometimes “like” can feel heavier and more urgent than “love”, and that’s what Sourpatch does best: they convey strong feelings through understated, low-fi songs, with the self-awareness that “like” maybe isn’t as serious as “love”, but it sometimes it can rule (or suck) just as hard.
They manage this with a contrast between dreamlike, dulcet vocals, and everything else: quivering, punky drums, guitar strumming that evokes compulsive, jittery foot-tapping, and a heavy, quick bassline that grounds all of the disparate sounds. Each track is a kind of pleasant contradiction. With lyrics like, “The only thing about disaster/Is that she can strike at any time” being delicately crooned against the especially upbeat, ‘90s-sounding song “Stare at the Sun”, it’s as though they’re trying really hard to be defeatists--but they still just can’t help but hope for the best.
Listen to the single "Cynthia Ann" below.
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