Sun-soaked and stoned, the release of Splashh’s debut album Comfort came at the perfect time of year, but judging by the sound, it would fit well in the summers of the 1960s.
Comfort was released by Kanine Records, so it isn’t alone in its rehashing of that retro sound—bands like Surfer’s Blood and Beach Day are also signed to Kanine. However, Splashh diverges from these bands in many ways with its own dreamy touch and pop-sensible method.
Comfort opens with a horribly catchy melody on bass, kept in beat by a snare that sounds like it was tuned to open a Joy Division album. One by one, the guitars join the ceaseless riff of the song “Headspin,” and singer Sasha Carlson’s words come out slowly. It’s as if the musicians have all been staring off into the distance and not paying attention, oddly embodying shoegaze in more ways than one.
Following that seemingly endless groove is the energetic single “All I Wanna Do.” It seems much of Carlson’s lyrical content on Comfort revolves around wanting things; he sings of one “Sweet Cherry” with whom he wants nothing more than to waste his days, whoever she may be. Carlson belts out, “I wanna go where nobody knows,” over a phased-out guitar dripping with wet-reverb on the oh-so-surfer-rock “Vacation,” an anthem about getting out of the zoo-like city life.
Aside from complaining about what they don’t have, the members of Splashh also lament their youth on “So Young.”
Spacey and distorted pop melodies are stuck between punk outbursts and slathered in lo-fi production, giving Splashh a sound that is less a salute to Sonic Youth than a rip-off of it.
With titles like “Washed Up” and dreamy vocals about going for a swim and drinking lemonade, Splashh has a succinct summer motif. Its blissful sound has an edge while still remaining docile. If its music is spacey, then that “space” is the hot open air blowing over the Pacific Ocean.
Splashh is another in this line of bands with serious throwback tendencies. Comfort has smudges of old psychedelic painted into a punk-rock frame, all with a catchy, modern feel. All of the three-chord aesthetics are there, but they’re drenched in weird effects. The result is a record that sounds like it’s been washed up on the shore of nostalgia.
Comfort has the touch of a good record, but it will be interesting to see if Splashh swims through the first wave and has holding power beyond that cookie-cutter surf-rock worship.
Splashh – Comfort tracklist:
- “All I Wanna Do”
- “Need It”
- “So Young”
- “Feels Like You”
- “Washed Up”
- “Strange Fruit”
- “Lost Your Cool”