With summer finally here, the chilly wave of glo-fi and electropop is hitting blogs and Spotify harder than that Lime-a-Rita you took to the head. The reverb-filled throwback sound of Toro y Moi, Small Black, Washed Out and Slow Magic is no stranger to the summer kids of both coasts, but Portland still has yet to make a name for itself in that genre (Washed Out as the Portlandia theme doesn’t really count). Luckily, brothers Ryan and Jeffrey Burian, aka Béisbol, have released a group of poolside gems via their latest release, Lo-Fi Cocaine
“Big Folk” kicks off the album with the bpm of your average Passion Pit track but the synth and sample layering of Slow Magic’s release, ▲ (Triangle). The kicks on this track are punchy and loud enough to dance to but still somehow let you fall asleep to at 3 a.m. “Nothing Strange” mixes light reggae with over-reverberated vocals and thick and shiny synths. There’s nothing new or groundbreaking here, but the inclusion of reggae really pushes how “chill” the genre can go.
“That Feeling” is a bubbly synth pop track. It wouldn’t sound awkward remixed by Calvin Harris, blaring over chest-crushing PA speakers and heavy sidechaining. This is definitely LA party music for those trying to show off how non-LA they are by putting on a band from Portland. It’s fun and classic. “Taking It All (Easy)” leans more on psychedelic stylings. Think Tame Impala meets MGMT. The light guitarwork and Barry Gibb-like vocals instantly injects images of crushed velvet, back massages and aviator glasses into the mind of the listener.
The album ends with “Is It Over,” a question no one should have to ask at the end of a record. Does Lo-Fi Cocaine deserve to be replayed? It seems so. Does it help to be already relaxed and possibly engaging in light conversation, loud enough to let this record play as soundtrack to your latest summer mistake? Possibly. Béisbol definitely don’t put themselves in a box. Although their attempt at almost-saturated genre is nearing formulaic, the amount of diverse influences makes this record just a little more special.