Just when it seemed the wave of beachy bands that swept over indie rock in the late 2000s had finally crashed, along came Cayucas and their debut, Bigfoot. While Zach Yudin's deceptively innocent melodies and boyish vocals recall the likes of the Drums and Surfer Blood, his take on this sound is a little quirkier and more introspective; if those bands are frolicking in the sun and sand, then Yudin is lying on a towel reading a good book. Indeed, he took a fairly scholarly approach to writing and craftingBigfoot's songs, culling samples from eclectic mid-20th century sources like the Animals and Harry Belafonte and piecing them together into collage-pop that was nostalgic for no time and place in particular, yet capable of evoking specific memories. With the help of producer Richard Swift -- whose own music shares a similar, vaguely retro but not too dusty feel -- Yudin replaced those samples onBigfoot with original instrumentation that still has that vibe of rootless déjà vu (and at times, his fondness for catchy juxtapositions of nostalgic sounds and modern situations suggests a more laid-back, West Coast Vampire Weekend or a sunburned version of the Shins). Some of Bigfoot's previously released tracks remain standouts, particularly the calypso-meets-indie of "Cayucos," which Yudin was working on back when the project was still called Oregon Bike Trails; this homage to the kind of seaside resort town that comes alive for a few months and then exists as a memory for tourists is so evocative that it's easy to see why he changed his nom de musique to Cayucas. Likewise, "East Coast Girl" is another thoughtful vignette of vacations, expectations, and how they play out. However, Bigfoothas plenty of other charms over the course of its eight tracks: with its music box sweetness and old-school key changes, "A Summer Thing" could be the Beach Boys' version of "Sloop John B" played backwards; "High School Lover" feels like an update on the songs that bands played in the middle of '60s beach movies, but when Yudin tells a girl she should have been his back in high school, it shows that not all of Cayucas' nostalgia is sweet. Cheery in the moment but with a lingering poignancy,Bigfoot is a soundtrack to shared memories of summer, first love, and all the bittersweet things that can happen when those two meet.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares
Thoughtful vignette of vacations
An update on the songs that bands played in the middle of '60s beach movies
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