San Felix’s Teenage Dream

Culture Events Music

Local indie-rock band releases Fire Island EP

San Felix, from L to R: Brett Frankson, Ian Kopp, Mark Bell, and Nick Tassell- photo provided
San Felix, from L to R: Brett Frankson, Ian Kopp, Mark Bell, and Nick Tassell- photo provided

In the midst of listening to Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, Death Grips’ Jenny Death, and other popular hip-hop releases that have seemingly come in a tidal wave this past month, I’ve been pulled back to a genre I thought I’d long moved past: indie-rock. The genre’s very mention, for me, evokes memories of lockers clanging in hallways, fluctuating hormones, making it by on a 6-speed bicycle, and figuring out just what the future meant after graduation.

And now, on the cusp of leaving my teens, I look at my iTunes and see it’s largely filled with albums that are typically bass-heavy and devoid of any acoustics. Not like the Born Ruffians or Metric CDs I’ve shelved since middle school. But now there’s Victoria act San Felix and their debut release Fire Island to remind me that there’s always more ground to cover in a genre, regardless of its traditions.

As their website bio describes, “San Felix sounds like that time when you ordered a water and the waiter put mint leaves in it, and you thought ‘I was not expecting these mint leaves but I still enjoy them.’” That coy statement comes mildly close to their sound; perhaps San Felix isn’t what you had in mind, but they’re still enough to surprise you where they can. Not unlike indie acts like Tokyo Police Club, the band’s sound is highly accessible and dance-friendly.

A muffled but heavy bass line makes its way through twangy guitars, leaving room for the occasional mini-keyboard or bell-set solo. However, the band does hold on to a subtle folk sensibility from their earlier releases such as the Last Narrow Home EP.

The album maintains the speed of an indie-rock release, keeping the subject matter sentimental and leaving little to no room for silence in the opening four tracks. The energy culminates with the fourth track “35 Hours,” which feels like the soundtrack to a sugar rush. “Day of the Rat” is a riff-rolling jam that feels especially West Coast, as if it’s narrating a road trip from the rear window of a VW Westfalia. The track eventually breaks from its piano-driven power-ballad into a bass heavy jam that sounds as if it came off an Interpol record. It shows off the band’s ability to take risks, even if it means compromising the tone of the song.

Listening to Fire Island made me think of how genres never really go out of fashion. That one album you seemingly outgrew will always be around, believe me; it’s just been growing and comfortably doing its thing while you weren’t looking.

San Felix will be playing two shows at the Intrepid Theatre Club (1609 Blanshard St.) April 5 and 6 with Winston Wolfe, 222, and Bodies. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased by contacting the bands via Facebook