It’s rare that a debut feels so immediate as the eponymous offering from San Francisco’s The Umbrellas. While the band is certainly frolicking through the meadows of indie pop’s past, they seem to harvest the best bits and arranged them into a verdant bouquet on their new LP. With jangling guitars that reflect the summer sun, three part harmonies and breeze-swayed keys, It comes as no surprise that this is surfacing from Slumberland. The band seems to embody 20 years of the label’s history in 40 minutes, sounding like the label distilled to a potent punch. There’s been a wealth of excellent indie pop over the last few years, from The Reds, Pinks and Purples, and The Telephone Numbers, Massage, and The Boys With The Perpetual Nervousness and this record slides in nicely alongside their contemporaries, while easily getting mistaken for their heroes.
Like the best jangled gems, the record dabbles in cloudy days as often as sunshine strums, letting melancholy lead the way on songs like “A.M.,” “Autumn” and “Near You.” The sweaters get pulled tight against the autumn chill and the band doesn’t hesitate to linger and let the breezes blend with their sighs. Yet when they truly lean into the the light, the band proves to be more than the sum of their influences. The joy that radiates off of “Happy” or the airy “Gailine” is hard to feign and even harder to replicate. They lift the listener up and spin them until dizziness sets in, setting off a childlike glee that’s as pure as it is potent. There’s no drought for indie pop in the world, but when a band nails it this hard, its nice to just let it wash over the speakers until everything seems ok, just for a few moments.
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