Back before their Something About the Chaparrals 12″ EP sold-out — even at the sky-high price of $20 Mexican Summer is notorious for — and prior to them becoming a household name in the Californian lo-fi scene with fellow acts Best Coast, Wavves, and of course No Age, Pearl Harbor was Pearl Harbour. During this time with the no-doubt trademark infringing name (why else would they drop an awesomely superfluous ‘u’ ?) they self-released a pretty good CD-R entitled Calistonia Dreamin’.
Although there were only four tracks containing a paltry 17+ minutes of music on the burned disc, the CD-R caught my attention and had me eagerly awaiting a proper follow-up. 2010 seems to be the year for their big breakout as they already have four projects slated for release (including a 7” on Dean Spunt’s PPM label and a 12” on the absurdly named Art Fag). Hell, they’ve already garner a lot of attention for their new dream-pop track “Hubbsian Lament”, so they are prime for a takeover.
However, with Calistonia Dreamin’ you find a band still trying to figure out their sound but nevertheless on the brink of creating something lasting. A lot noisier than any of their new tracks (possibly due to the bedroom recording or them being caught up with the resurgence of reverb the winter of ’09 brought), the songs are more about dabbling around with ideas than solidifying “their sound”. The lead track “Sunburn” sounds more like an improv jam session with the twinkling guitar line moving more at the whim of the guitarist than reproducing notes on sheet music.
Unsurprisingly drugs play a large role in Pearl Harbor’s music. Besides blatantly acknowledging the use of banned substances in their lyrics à la jj, tracks like “High Road” and “Vapor Girlss” certainly seem like they were recorded lazily after a smoke-out. With varying tempos and melodies that don’t exactly line up with the beat, PH seem to exemplify the uncaring attitude most lo-fiers profess but are unable to show in their music — a sort of talk-the-talk and walk-the-walk.
No doubt the hit track of the set is the last one on the EP: “Lost @ Sea”. With an enchanting melody acting as a life-preserver, carrying the listener through the otherwise murky waters of the song, it’s tough not to hum this one over-and-over at the bus stop. A sort-of precursor to their wildly popular “Luv Goon“, “Lost @ Sea” shows the dream-pop direction the band has been heading towards as of late.
Here are mp3s for the tracks “Sunburn” and “Lost @ Sea” for your listening pleasure: