Fine Points

Hover

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San Francisco's Fine Points are the enticingly laid-back psych-pop side project of Sleepy Sun guitarists Matt Holliman and Evan Reiss. Eschewing the more fuzzed-out, Byrdsian elements of their primary band, Fine Points offer a pastoral, sun-warmed sound that rolls as easily as a drive up the Pacific Coast Highway. From the opening notes of their 2015 debut Hover, it's clear that Holliman and Reiss are craftsmen with a keen pop sense and a flair for understated, clever guitar work. Cloaked in dreamy West Coast mystery, album-opener and lead single "Astral Season" features languid, minor-key surf tones overlaid with a wonderful, fog-cutting lead part and no small amount of '60s-indebted Californian mysticism. Aided by a handy picked bassline, "Just Like That" follows suit, skirting around the obvious melodies as it melds reverb-washed jangle pop with some nice vocals and, at times, an almost Liverpudlian vibe that recalls the La's or the Coral. Other highlights include the gently ambling "Amalia" and the thoughtful, easygoing "These Days." At seven tracks, Hover is a fairly brief debut, clocking in at under 30 minutes, which might be a good thing as most of the songs live in the same kind of midtempo habitat that could wear out its welcome on a longer LP. As it is, though, Fine Points stick around just long enough to establish themselves as fine purveyors of low-key guitar pop with a short stack of solid songs and an exploratory streak that mixes neo-psych with shoegaze textures.

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