The Soft White Sixties Create Haunting Pop Album with Alta California




Review by DONNA BALANCIA

The Soft White Sixties have released one of the most remarkable albums ever with Alta California and they succeed by blending genres, ideologies and time periods.

The unique style blends of the album, the songwriting, and clever use of wild but contained synth and driving basslines makes this one of the most emotion-filled records in the last 20 years.

Soft White Sixties' Octavio Genera - Photo © Donna Balancia
Soft White Sixties’ Octavio Genera – Photo © Donna Balancia

The Soft White Sixties makes a record that those over 40 can appreciate for its massive nostalgia factor and those under 40 can love for its new and groundbreaking modern soul sound.

“Overpass” is nothing short of a hot dance song with a vow spoken aloud “I’m gonna be the last man standing” after a night of wild partying. Complete with an eerie fantasy sequence this song is truly different and refreshing with a familiar pop appeal.

The ’60s being the theme, “I Still Love You San Francisco” has a wonderul sound imbedded with organ playing and dark tones. Even though cities change, many people have memories from a time not all that long ago. Add a large dose of fuzzy guitar and synthy keyboards and it’s a transportive experience.

“Brick by Brick” tells the story of coming to the U.S. as all immigrants have. The chorus talks about tearing down the “wall” brick by brick.

“The Candy Store” bears a strong resemblance in tone to “Where Are We Now” by David Bowie. It’s got an unconventional Elton John-style piano and a creepy narrative that plays head games.

“No 1 Like U BB” is a fun love story with a robotic dance beat that turns into what sounds like a steampunk honky tonk, almost a la Tiny Tim of 1960s fame.

“Number One” is a tender locomotive driving fast down its curving, mountainous musical path. The song is layered with a vibrating rapid bumblebee violin-like sound, 1960s organ, and precise upper octave vocals. It’s a shame that people grow apart, and this song is an incredible and dangerous train trip careening down the track.

“Reaganomixxx”-  It’s a sad state of affairs that we are bringing fiscal policies into the bedroom. But that’s what’s going on and Soft White Sixties addresses the good with the bad.

The album sendoff is “Until The World Stops Spinning,” a happy go lucky melody blended with a Grinch Stole Christmas heartstrings tugged. While it’s nice to stay with someone until the world stops spinning, SWS hints of what may be yet to come. (“Clutching hands through the crazy”). It is one of the oddest yet most catchy pop songs ever.

The band boasts the rhythm section of Joey Bustos and Ryan Noble, the squealing fuzz guitars and analog synths of Aaron Eisenberg and Rob Fidel, and the soulful groove of lead vocalist Octavio Genera. Genera is wild on stage, bringing to mind a modern James Brown.

The Soft White Sixties are having a record release show at The Bootleg on Saturday, Aug. 11.

Soft White Sixties performs ‘Beverly’ at The Echo: