I recently spent a month in Spain, where I found that the bulk of the musical underground there is awash in unadorned 60s garage rock. For which, I must confess, I have quite a soft spot. So when this 7″ came up on my radar soon after returning home, I was quite excited. An Australian band with a spanish moniker, making music that reminded me of the Spanish underground, even singing in Spanish in places.
The Si Claros (“si claro” translates literally as “yes, clear” – we’d probably use the phrase “of course” most commonly where a Spaniard would use this) are two of the members (Brooke Cotton and Vincent Scagnetti) of an old favourite, the now Newcastle based Yae! Tiger. While I’ve always loved that band’s explorations of slightly fractured pop/rock with electronic edges, The Si Claros strip it right back down. The guitar/drum/vocal duo band has become relatively ubiquitous this century and it is this line-up that is explored by The Si Claros. While much of the current Australian warehouse scene is also populated by grungy garage noise, The Si Claros maintain a relatively high fidelity to their sound which, in turn, gives them a more earnest feel, stripped of the ironic distance of the lo-fi set. The tinny, scree-ness of many guitar/drum duos is ignored. In the absence of bass, the drums steer clear of hi-hats and cymbals, a floor tom filling much of the absent low spectrum, leaving clear space for the guitar and voices. And the music is definitely in service of melody. The swirling boy-girl harmonies have a lot in common with early 90s indie darlings like The Pixies, The Falling Joys and The Clouds and are the focus of the tracks – short, sharp, appealing pop.
Over the three tracks on the vinyl (plus a bonus download), The Si Claros don’t necessarily break new sonic ground, but they do combine influences in ways that set them apart from both their idols and current trends. I’m a big fan of the results – a great debut for both the band and their new label.