Based on a 6-song
teaser for an album to be released sometime in the near future, the
Mexican-born, San Diego-based soundsmith has immense potential.
BY ALLI MARSHALL
I love the name Twin Cabins because it makes me think of a
cute cluster of summer camp cottages at the edge of a glossy lake across which
canoes glide and campers while away idyllic childhood days of endless sunshine
and S’mores-coated grins.
This is not what Twin Cabins (the band) sounds like. Not
rustic, not Americana kitsch, not marshmallow sticky or “Kumbaya” cloying. But
it is sun-dappled and informed by
those summers late in youth when growing pains ache in the joints and the
feeling of loss is only second to the sense of nostalgia for a time that’s not
yet slipped from reach.
Twin Cabins is the bedroom project of Nacho Cano who was
born in Mexico City and lives in San Diego. Highwire Daze writes that “Cano created truly
Californian dreamlike and catchy melodies that reflected sentiments of love,
frustration, and personal conflict,” and there is something to the idea of the
non-native resident capturing a spirit that’s so American. So über-American, so sun-bleached and salt-sprayed,
surfy, beachy, expansive. It’s the experience of the outsider looking in and
really seeing things as they are. But I’m
Sure, the nine-track album set for release at some as-yet undisclosed point
in the future (you can check out 6 songs at www.twincabins.bandcamp.com/album/im-sure-album-sample;
a message on the page from Cano explains, “There has been a common mistake that
this is an ep but it’s actually an album sampler. I am simply allowing people
to listen to some of the album before it is properly released. The album is
actually 9 tracks long and it is already complete.”) is also informed by the
outsider point of view. I mean, the album kicks off with “Lonely Summer,” an
upbeat, drum-driven jog through cool air currents and pastel washes of guitar
in which the opening line is “You seem sadder than before.”
But the sadness doesn’t stick. What Cano crafts is a wave
cresting, a kite held aloft, a line of pelicans winging across a peachy sunset. Which is to
say, if there’s melancholy in this collection of songs – a series of missives
to loves past, present (“I keep falling for you, like you don’t want me to,” he
sings on “Laika”) and not yet met – it’s more sweet than bitter. This is
heartache cast in the washed out light of a faded Polaroid. Melodies are ion-rich,
guitars and keys edge toward their high registers; only the bass remains
steadfast and earthy in its consistent thump.
“Bridges” takes a turn toward a nocturne. The pace slows to
a sexy sway; Cano’s vocal is a sigh that recalls João Gilberto as much as
contemporaries Beach House and Tennis.
Which is why I’m Sure, despite its
debut status, also reveals an old soul, a timelessness. Beach music (not in the
sense of shag dancing or cruising around in a surfboard-topped Jeep Wagoneer,
but, rather in the sense of ocean-inspired chill wave and indie-pop) seeps into
the human psyche. It reminds of good times. Of childhood, vacations and the
scent of Hawaiian Tropic. And it also feels blissfully, effortlessly,
The album’s title track showcases as easy falsetto (I hear
through the grapevine it’s a backup singer, but the advance album doesn’t come
with notes). Lyrics rise and fall from the buzz and reverb of an experimental
melody line. It dances between pop and noise, sometimes harmonic and sometimes
dissonant, but discordant only long enough to add an edge.
The bright, bouncy “Pretty Bones” sweeps any darkness under
the rug and dances along a staccato keyboard line and snappy percussion. A
chorus of voices shower layered paean scatter-shot over the melody.
Final track “Swing Lynn” makes tidy work of bringing the
album back, if not to its starting point (because I’m Sure doesn’t really have a narrative trajectory), than to a
sense of equilibrium. Here, it’s all cozy warm tones, shimmering guitars, fleet
drums and a sweetly narcotic progression down scales. Cannon sings that he
“would rather die than feel this pain,” but the cause of his angst is simply a
girl with whom he wants to dance. And in the end he leaves us with this
affirmation: “But I know, I’m sure.” Which feels right. It floats back into the
dream. The dance can wait. It’ll happen. There’s sand and salt air and a
star-strewn sky. It’s a photo finish.