Album Reviews

California Snow Story: Close To The Ocean [Album Review

California Snow Story

You probably wouldn’t recognize the name David Skirving unless you are the most die-hard of Camera Obscura fans. Yes, he did write select guitar parts for Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi, but his Camera Obscura legacy resided in the founding days prior to that more well-known early album. After breaking from Camera Obscura he founded California Snow Story, releasing the One Good Summer EP on Shelflife in 2002 before taking another break from music. That brings us to Close To The Ocean, the first full-length by the group, recorded in ’05 and ’06 but not hitting stores until ’07.

Sandra Belda Martínez (formerly of the Valencia-based duo Superété) joined Skirving and California Snow Story in 2006, adding a soft female vocal part. Following the early footsteps of Camera Obscura, California Snow Story creates soft, almost lounge-y pop songs (“Future Perfect”) and orchestra heavy, baroque-reminiscent tunes (“My Life Is Only A Daydream”). The songs are light and catchy, but it may take a listen or two for this to really sink in as is common in softer bedroom-like pop.

Close To The Ocean is a great album for a rainy day cuddle. Not overly happy and not overly sad, yet with heavy elements of both emotions. The softly brushed percussion of Alan Skirving and David’s sometimes jangly guitar bode well with the light pitter-patter of raindrops on the windowsill. You simply want to grab someone you love and hold them close as David and Maria sing The sun is the brightest start of the day / But you are the one that lights my way (“Brook Lune”).

“A New Light To Guide You” has a lyrical and vocal progression thant hint of a ballad by The Beatles while other tracks have a Bacharach influence and, more recently, the instrumentation of The Postmarks or even Math & Physics Club. In conclusion, this is an album to sit back and enjoy: it’s a good one.

This review was originally published August 20, 2007 on the old version of FensePost.

California Snow Story: Suddenly Everything Happens [mp3]

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Close To The Ocean by California Snow Story

Letterbox Records [CD, 2007]

1. Begin Again
2. My Life Is Only A Daydream
3. Future Perfect
4. Suddenly Everything Happens
5. Consolation Song
6. Brook Lune
7. A New Light To Guide You
8. Wishing Well
9. You Set The Scene
10. Once An Ocean

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