While having sushi dinner at Mobo recently, I mentioned San Narciso, to which my friend pondered aloud, “Why have I heard of them?” The reason is because a new 4-song EP, Friend Prices, confirms what many local show-goers have already discovered: San Narciso, the year-old local indie rock band, is fantastic.
I frequently lose faith in rock music, having binged on it for the better part of the previous decade, over-listening to The Weakerthans and Epitaph’s Punk-O-Rama compilations. So whenever a rock band, specifically a guitar-bass-drums trio, is capable of producing fresh and exciting music, immediately it earns my ears simply by holding its own amidst the rock music I’ve long since memorized.
“For me, the record is a culmination of every mix CD I was ever handed,” says bassist Sean Rusev, a recent UC Santa Cruz grad. The affable twenty-something laces his sweet, wandering basslines with vocal melodies that span the United States of Indie. West Coast math, by way of Josh Renkow’s acrobatic drumming and Lucas De Leon Turner’s graceful guitar work, meets the aggression of Gainesville’s No Idea set, while Michigan’s Bear vs. Shark crash on the couch.
It’s chaotic and cohesive, melodic without oozing sentiment. But while the instruments import ingredients from scene to shining scene, the EP’s text tastes distinctly local. “The lyrics reflect growing up here in Santa Cruz, the experiences and places,” Rusev reveals. Unexpected twists in time signature and dynamics frame post-collegiate life: “Pretty soon your youth is a postcard,” Rusev sings on “God of Wine,” “Some long dead holiday in the sun / You had fun, then you blinked, now it’s gone.” In fact, my only complaint about Friend Prices is the record’s length.
A sonic blitzkrieg running just more than 10 minutes, every time I listen to the EP I have fun, then I blink, then it’s gone. Fortunately, we can expect more—San Narciso is sticking around. “Santa Cruz hands out noise violations like candy, but no matter how many viable houses and venues disappear, others spring up to replace it,” Rusev says. “That’s an exciting community to be a part of.”
INFO: Myspace.com/sannarciso. Photo Credit: Melissa Black