Album Review: Cayucas, ‘Dancing at the Blue Lagoon’
Perhaps more than any other U.S. state, California continues to cast a mythic shadow in the collective imagination. It's easy to see why, with its sunny climes, oceanside views, desert landscapes, its history as the focal point for westward expansion and entertainment industry -- both pillars of American culture -- and its enduring layers of Mexican influence. For twin brothers Zach and Ben Yudin, who together form the duo Cayucas, California represents both the place where they grew up as well as an abstract fantasy that's idealized and rendered fuzzy through the lens of nostalgia for childhood.
Given the palm trees, the swimming pool setting and even the Hotel California-esque font on the album cover, you'd expect the Yudin twins to self-consciously evoke a "sunny California" sound. But, while their music certainly does hew towards the bright (the album contains several Calypso-like grooves, such as on the bouncy "Hella") introspection and wistfulness lurk beneath the surface, spritzing the music like the mist from ocean waves. Musically speaking, the Yudin twins have grown more assertive in their arrangements. On certain songs, strings, pianos and horns give the music a near-orchestral heft.
Lots of artists have visited the whole "goin' to California" motif, but the most rewarding experiences tend to be the ones where the audience isn't sure if they recognize the place once they get there. Such is the case with Dancing at the Blue Lagoon.