By Jordan Ottesen
Those who say Provo lacks in musical diversity need to listen to Pacificana (and a myriad of other local acts – but that’s a discussion for another time).
Their new album Messy Hair boasts slightly-detuned electric guitars and tubular riffs that place the listener right in a surf shop, hanging out with a bunch of shaggy haired beach bums and indie rock nerds in high-waters. With quirky but deliberate piano lines, gang vocals, and excellently executed drum riffs, this is a lovable brand of beach rock that Provo (and the rest of the world for that matter) ought to accept with open arms.
Every instrument has its own identity here. The piano is tactfully present in each tune, whether that be straight eighth note chords or the surprise glissando. The detuned guitar bounces between gritty chords and gentle arpeggios. Ben Mueller’s voice fits this style of music nearly to a fault. Quick vibrato, indie vibes, and just the right amount of delay effect – you’d be hard pressed to find a better fit for this style of witty beach rock.
“Lets Get High (Waisted Pants)” is a perfect example of Ben Mueller’s goofy-but-intentional lyrical genius. The humor throughout Pacificana’s music is sometimes subtle, but in this case it’s really just a simple joke: let’s hike our pants up and make it sound like a drug reference. It’s a type of culture, however, that makes the listener feel like they’re in on a joke with the band. It’s an almost accidental level of accessibility to their audience, making Pacificana personable to anyone who comes across their album.
“Jaws” is certainly a highlight for this album. The gang vocals are catchy, the melody and tune as a whole are excellent, and the song wraps up with some of the funniest phrases shouted by the crowd. Give this tune a good listen.
Pacificana is an incredible name. It’s memorable, simple, and accurately portrays the brand of beach rock that’s unique to this group. Listening to “Messy Hair” should feel like a bold but simple invitation to join Pacificana’s world of vintage film, surfing, quick witted humor, and shark costumes.