Album Review: Cabana Wear – Self Titled

  • Peter Hough posted
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Cabana Wear

Cabana Wear - Self Released / Sludge People

You could review this album in one sentence: fuzzed-out nineties/noughties mid-tempo power pop. But that would be a disservice to Cabana Wear – that inescapable underlying familiarity makes this an easy and comfortable listen. The band comprises members of Aspiga, By Surprise, Crucial Dudes and It’s A King Thing and their New Jersey/Philadelphia origins belie what might be described as a breezy West Coast sound that ‘Pork and Beans’-era Weezer fans will find familiar. But that doesn’t mean that Cabana Wear are derivative or that they don’t rock. They surely do.

There is plenty to be admired in Cabana Wear‘s songcraft, from the hooky single Bother You to the more introspective and dreamy soundscapes of Least Comfortable Me and Where I Am. They can be jaunty too: Summer is just over two minutes worth of fuzz-drenched perfect pop.

Overall, there’s a wistful, introspective quality to this collection reinforced by reflective and often obtuse lyrical work. Instrumentation-wise, there’s real drive when there needs to be and there is plenty of depth in the production to allow the dynamics of the songs to break free.  As a piece, the album is evocative of an era far enough distant to be definable but close enough to be memorable. Song by song, there are hints of other bands too – the highly commercial One Time In A Million evokes Fountains of Wayne‘s smash hit hymn to MILF worship Stacy’s Mom, for instance, but avoids the cartoon quality of that song. You can find hints of Semisonic and the UK’s Silver Sun if you listen hard enough, particularly in the harmonies.

Despite these inevitable comparisons, Cabana Wear is not a band out of time and this album captures a confident unit making very palatable music on their own terms. One I know I’ll keep coming back to. Cabana Wear is due out March 15th from the band and cassette label Sludge People.

You can pre-order Cabana Wear‘s debut album on vinyl here and cassette here