Drag City CD/2xLP/MP3
2011 has started off with a spate of releases. One of the CDs that should be eagerly anticipated is Napa Asylum by San Francisco garage/noise rock collective Sic Alps. It’s slated for release on 1/25/11 on the Drag City imprint.
There’s not an ounce of fat to be found here! Napa Asylum is full of punchy, often aphoristic songs that create a powerful impression. Most are around two and a half minutes long; the lengthiest 3’40″. But sometimes good things come in small packages; Sic Alps’ songs never suffer for being pithy. Indeed, among the 22 cuts here, there’s a surprising variety of sonic ambiences.
The band can turn from the slowly undulating fuzzy groove of “Eat Happy” to the psych pop inflected “Cement Surfboard,” reorienting their listeners on the turn of a dime. That this kaleidoscope of fast-changing styles can remain consistently engaging and never seem whiplash inducing is no mean feat. And at their best, Sic Alps potently combine heavy rock riffs and punctilious percussion with lithely delivered vocals: a delicious juxtaposition of demeanors.