The Pacific – The Pacific Label: Swinghouse Recordings/Stellasmoke Records Release date: June 2005
On a street corner that’s not Rodeo Drive, the four effortlessly amicable rock dudes from The Pacific unload their equipment into a small, almost trendy dive bar known for its dollar pitchers. It’s not a popular place but it’s certainly a hidden treasure, much like the hidden talent that pisses in its urinals every week.
Who knows if L.A.’s The Pacific actually fall under my initial mental projection, but with their self-titled full-length from Swinghouse Recordings/Stellasmoke Records, it’s hard not to believe that the West coast indie outfit knows a little bit more about rocking and rolling than the rest of us. A nonchalant swagger and middle-range, cohesive arrangements cast theme songs to casual conversations, fountain skinny-dipping, and carefree strolls along festive city streets. The chirpy, almost 90’s soft-boiled guitar rock could easily grab recognition on the newest Gap commercial, especially with the hooky wails of “Drunk Stumbling Suitcase” or Brady Bunch piano of “Actors, Photographers & Designers.” But the kicker? The Pacific doesn’t try to achieve this comfort – it just happens. I’m not saying they strum strings, hit sticks, and croon notes at random, but The Pacific exerts an innate ruffled bebop energy, feedback included.
The album ignites with “American Crime Song,” an upstanding booty-shaker, similar to “Come On, Come Down.” From a bird’s eye view, the 12-track output is an unwavering genuine spirit, the kind that underground elitists will likely hate. This is understandable. At first my obligatory skeptics were frisking for something, anything, to hone in on and despise. The Pacific’s plain-jane antics, in comparison to other current “rock” numbers, are a masked finesse. It took me a couple spins to accept this and a couple more to enjoy. With the exception of the expendable track “Your Chemistry to Blame,” higher success has the ingredients it needs, or at least for the music people at the new CW. Vocalist Curt Barlage is fine-tuned in NOT sounding like a pipsqueak and NOT sounding like an over-worked Malboro Man. He compliments his band, his band compliments his vocals – it’s a community effort, and I imagine the four spend many nights frolicking these festive streets, laughing about life’s little nuances, and picking up cute chicks at the almost trendy dive bar.
RIYL: The Format, American Hi-Fi, Invisible Eyes, Letters To Cleo, Phantom Planet, Rooney, Smoking Popes, and Weezer.