by Adrian Gandara
Everything you need to know about The Infinites’ eponymous debut you can learn from lead single and album opener “Nina Segovia.”
The song isn’t in a hurry to get anywhere. The first half of the two-minute song lounges in feel-good summer surf pop before Jared Leibowich’s adorkable voice comes in.
“I’d like to tell you about Nina Segovia, and when I’m done talking you’ll fall in love with her,” he sings as an admirer from afar. Nina holds a chemistry book. She’s always friendly. She’s alright.
It’s a brief snapshot of one of the invented characters Leibowich has brought to life in this album, each song named after and about a different character: Nina Segovia, Jimmy Smith, Nathan Wray. The cover art for “Nina Segovia” is a simple photo of a girl at the lake facing away reading a paper in hand. Second single “Scott McMurray” has a yearbook photo of an All-American running back charging down the field in black in white.
Like the classic early 1960s surf songs these characters inhabit, they seem to exist in a more simplistic world of suburbs, swimming pools and aimless strolls around town — a “Pleasantville” world in an “Endless Summer” vacation.
There’s Scott McMurray, whose boredom with everything around him takes him on a trip to the local library. “He opened a book/And took a look/And time passed by/And started to fly/So Scott McMurray ended up staying there the rest of the day.” Ok, the writing and rhymes aren’t particularly complex. Neither was Best Coast’s 2010 summer sound album Crazy For You, nor were the surf albums that record labels churned out in the 1960s. They didn’t need to be. You weren’t listening to these albums for innovation, virtuosity or lyrical complexity. You played them because they had feel-good bops, were fun to move to, and because you really, really liked surf music.
On The Infinites, every song after “Nina Segovia” sounds exactly the same in the best kind of way. It’s a satisfying answer to getting really into a new song and desperately needing more of it. You hope, too often in vain, every other song sounds like and makes you feel just like this one does. The Infinites does just that. It’s a throwback to when early rock vinyls were made to be packed with hits and played over the airwaves for voracious kids to devour.
Surf and garage rock already had a revival c. 2010. That was the year Best Coast, Wavves, The Drums and Beach Fossils all released albums eschewing the previous decade’s style of rock for the idealized sounds of the 1960s California coast. What makes The Infinites different is the influence of the mid-2010s indie pop that eventually replaced surf and garage revival. The Infinites isn’t afraid be a neatly packaged and unabashedly pop album. It feels no need to set itself apart with introspective lyrics, lo-fi rocking garage fuzz or reverb big enough to get lost in. It’s enough to just be fun, be catchy, make you feel warm and fuzzy and make you want to dance.
Photos from The Infinites show release party at Hotel Vegas: