Eureka California

Big Cats Can Swim

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On their debut album Big Cats Can Swim, the Athens, Georgia trio Eureka California crash and bash through 11 songs in 28 minutes. The songs are short jolts of indie rock/guitar pop powered by the combo of Marie A. Uhler's simple but kicky drumming and Jake Ward's wiry guitar noise, with Ryan's reverb-coated vocal croon riding on top. It's nothing you haven't heard before -- lots of loud/quiet dynamics, ragged verses, diffidently anthemic choruses, and ramshackle energy -- from bands like Pavement, Butterglory, and Boyracer. What keeps the album from being a been-there/heard-that proposition is the cheerfully casual nature of the music, the energy they inject into the songs, and the songs themselves. They are pretty catchy, not to the point where you might hum them all day long, but sticky enough in an offhanded way. Ryan's near-monotone vocal style is also oddly endearing and the way almost every line ends up flat by the end (no matter how much gusto he puts into it) is kinda cool. It's quintessentially slacker-ish and fits perfectly with the music and the lyrics and everything about the group. They put a lot of effort into sounding like they are going about things in a slapdash fashion and it's worth it. Big Cats Can Swim is an impressive debut that may not set the world on fire, but it will give you a nice boost of lazy energy when you spin it, which you may find yourself doing more than a few times.

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