Cover Art for T. Rexico &Fake Tides' Split EP

Artist: T. Rexico and Fake Tides
Title: Fake Tides // T. Rexico
Label: Self-released
Release date: February 24, 2017

I’ll say it again: there’s really something happening in the South Bay.

Over the past couple years, seemingly in a response to the success of The Frights, the South San Diego scene has absolutely exploded with young, hardworking (mostly) surf/garage-pop/punk/rock bands. And while that sound may elicit a near retina detaching eye roll in most San Diegans, there’s a unique and rejuvenating energy to this spate of rocker-kind that cannot be denied.

Enter the new split EP featuring Fake Tides, one of the surf punk stalwarts of this burgeoning scene, and T. Rexico, a younger, more pop oriented band hailing from Chula Vista. Peep a couple tracks I premiered on this month’s Local San Diego Playlist. T. Rexico kick off the split with ‘Never in my Dreams’, which I earlier referred to as an ‘indie bubblegum gem’, an assessment I stand by since I’ve had the earworm chorus ‘I don’t wanna sleep no more…I’m scared of my dreams’ stuck in my head all fucking week.

On this split, Fake Tides and T. Rexico each choose a song from the others repertoire, a schtick that would have been very underwhelming had each of the covers not kicked such ass. T. Rexico, consisting of  Kiara Pornan on organ, Bryce Doria on bass, Tristin Souvannarath on drums & Thomas Souvannarath on guitar and vocals, choose Fake Tides’ ‘I Don’t Know’, and trade in the snot for earnestness. They slow everything down and send in the synths, transforming the rollicking surf punk song into a dreamy, mid tempo head-bopper.

There’s a musicality to T. Rexico not present in much of what gets corralled into the ‘surf pop’ moniker, as demonstrated on the winding, 6 minute wrap up to their side, ‘Take Me Home’. It’s a song that transitions seamlessly from a minimal, drum roll helmed verse to a circular keyboard riff to a singalong chorus, to a foreboding pre verse to a transcendentally elongated outro, and it’s this willingness to experiment that makes T. Rexico feel so promising.

On their side, Fake Tides, who consist of Luis Mireles (guitar & vocals), Sal Samano (bass & vocals) and Edgar Alejandre (drums) display the kind of honest and earned growth you always hope for in young bands. On ‘With You,’ the three piece shakes off the restraints of the three chord songwriting that defined their earlier releases, while also maintaining all of the hook laden refrains that made it so fucking fun, so end up sounding like Tijuana Panthers with Mac DeMarco on lead. They strike a delicate balance, mixing the rawness of their punk roots with a more refined, sonically rich approach and increased willingness to experiment with nontraditional chords, and the evolution suits them incredibly well.

Fake Tides’ cover of T. Rexico’s ‘Television Song’ hits the mark in a big way, bringing the originally lo-fi track out of the garage and into the light, a change that makes all the difference. The band’s natural chemistry is best understood on this track, as Mireles’ tastefully effected guitar and vocal work weaves in and out of Samano’s melodic bass lines and Alejandre’s commanding drum presence.

Lastly we have ‘Slower Dance’, a sort of second stab at ‘Slow Dance’, a track from their 2014 debut ‘7th Street’, and holy hell: they slow down the tempo, slather on some synths, replace the distortion treated electric guitar of the original with a crisp acoustic, and the whole thing feels like it opens up into a new room, where Elvis Depressedly is covering Mazzy Star. It displays exactly the kind of tonal range I fervently hope the group will pursue in the future.

 

Review by: Jakob McWhinney