Likely due to their home state, name and penchant for upbeat chord progressions, Florida's Holiday Shores draw comparisons to a slew of feel-good bands like Wavves, Beach Fossils and the Beach Boys, to name a few. But writing them off as surfer-dude tunes misses the mark. The band wisely tempers sunny melodies with a healthy dissonant sheen, such that each carefully-crafted pop melody comes wrapped in warm blanket of sonic discord usually reserved for more downbeat music.
Their first full-length Columbus'd the Whim, released this summer on Twosyllable Records, perfectly reflects the duality. Like on last year's Golden Throats EP (released under their previous moniker, Continental Divide), the band's never a stickler for aural perfection. The album is full of buzzing strings, clipped mics and echo chamber guitars with a level of reverb that occasionally verges on comical.
Layered vocals add an ethereal feel to lead singer Nathan Pemberton's off-kilter delivery and lyrics defy any easy genre pigeonholes. The first single, "Phones Don't Feud," makes a good introduction to the album's scruffy charm. While "Edge Of Our Lives" turns vaguely Afropop rhythms into a genuinely danceable tune, the more somber notes of "Dens" and "I'll Spend Monday I Don't Have" hint at a long, versatile career down the road.
Art by Ben Tousley (who can count two Grizzly Bear records in his portfolio) and smart layout design create a tangible item worth the pricetag. Buy Columbus'd the Whim at the Twosyllable shop or download from iTunes. For those attending this year's CMJ festival, catch Holiday Shores today at Trash Bar and the Delancey and Saturday at the Music Hall of Williamsburg.