After more than a decade together, San Cisco (Jordi Davieson on vocals and guitar, Scarlett Stevens on drums, and Josh Biondillo on guitar) are now at a point where they know what they are capable of making and very comfortable in doing so. After albums two and three (Gracetown and The Water) left things a little stale and at times uninspired, Between You and Me is San Cisco back at their best, with a refreshed focus about what they want to achieve as a band.
Gifting us with a few singles prior to release in the form of “On the Line” and “When I Dream”, combined with the tracks from their April EP Flaws, Between You and Me is a fun exploration of relationships, friendships and getting older.
Opening track “Skin” is a slight detour from the bubbly releases you’ve come to expect from the band. It embraces the notion and feeling of being absolutely miserable after being broken up with. A song of unrequited love, “Skin” was the first taste of the album, and almost a year on from its release, that sense of the band’s growing maturity, is still maintained with each additional listen.
“On the Line”, in comparison, is a complete 180: it’s fun and has an unbeatable chorus. Treading much of the same context of “Skin”, “On the Line” aptly captures that part of a break up where you’re still in denial about the end of a relationship, but ever so slowly coming to terms with its end.
The undeniable bass groove of “Reasons”, when matched with a cheesy synth quiver throughout its chorus, is a blissful push further into break up territory, as Davieson urges the listener to pull an Elsa and let it go. Meanwhile, the 80’s inspired “Messages” is a tongue-in-cheek tale about shitty friends that seemingly have all the time in the world to do anything other than reply to your messages. With Stevens taking the lead vocals on the track, this different perspective is a refreshing change up. The guitar solo in its closing stages definitely leaves the listener with a dumb smile on their face with each listen too.
“Shine” is a complete oxymoron. The most upbeat and disco driven track of the album, it talks about the struggles of letting people in and hiding behind a simple ‘I’m fine’. It’s a genuinely catchy track bordering on the absurd. Then you have the lusting and longing of “Alone”, with its Americana western tinges. It showcases another, softer side to the band. It’s a great turn, with Davieson wishing to be in the arms of his love.
While much of the album centres on the ending of relationship and the gradual acceptance that it’s finally time to move on, “Tell Me When You’re Leaving” instead pivots to a future where things are looking up and you’re headed in a happier, potentially platonic direction.
The album closes on the titular “Between You and Me”. It’s a softly spoken look back at the relationships the album is based on. An attempt to not taint the memories of their time together, “Between You and Me” is a subtle and warm reflection of better times, when rose coloured glasses are the norm and red flags are non-existent (they definitely are).
In the lead up to the release of Between You and Me, the band have spoken about how recording the album over a longer period of time (many of the songs have been around for three years and have been played live multiple times) left them feeling extra connected to the tracks, and finally seeing them make it to an album is like seeing your children grow up before your eyes. And, that extra care and attention does filter through on the album.
Between You and Me is San Cisco’s best album since their debut. Sure, it may have its weaker moments and the content is hardly revolutionary. But, overall the listener is reminded that as a band San Cisco can still churn out catchy pop tracks. Just like they have for the past ten years.
THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Between You and Me is out Friday 4 September. You can pre-order and pre-save the album HERE.
The band will be playing a limited run of shows in support of the new album, dates below:
25 -28th Sep | Wave Rock Weekender – Hyden, WA
3rd Oct | Uni Bar – Hobart, TAS
8th Oct | Kingscliff Beach Hotel – Kingscliff, NSW
10th Oct | NightQuarter – Birtinya, QLD
30th Oct | Fremantle Arts Centre w/ Stella Donnelly and Adrian Dzvuke
For more information and tickets head HERE.
Header Photo: Toni Wilkinson