California Snow Story was formed in 2001 by David Skirving, who was an original member of Glasgow's Camera Obscura. In addition to Skirving, the band includes Spanish vocalist Sandra Belda Martanez and Japanese keyboardist Madoka Fukushima. The early years of the band featured an EP, and an LP followed in 2007. The band then drifted into hiatus for several years, with occasional shows by no recorded output. The realities of life and living on different continents will do that, but it was unfortunate because Skirving is a talented songwriter, with a knack for penning songs in the neighborhood of the indie pop landscape that welcomes relaxed melodies, gentle hooks, soft male and female vocals, and some tropical, jazz and surf touches.
Fortunately, Skirving decided that the project had more life in it, and has released a new LP titled Some Other Places via Shelflife Records. The album features ten tracks of what California Snow Story does so well. The pace is never hurried, the atmosphere is warm and sunny, with a bit of haze and shadings of nostalgia and melancholy. Skirving's songwriting is in top form, and his creations are even more thoroughly adorned as the original band is supplemented with contributions from Melanie Whittle (the Hermit Crabs), Lupe Nunez-Fernandez (Pipas and Amor De Diaz), and Kristoffer Solvang (The Loch Ness Mouse) on various tracks. The entire album provides a perfect soundtrack for a sunny afternoon or an evening relaxing on a gentle breeze. Nevertheless, there are standouts for me, such as the jangling "Our New Sun" and "You'll Go Places" (the latter reminds me of Camera Obscura), the tropical "Outliers", the retro teen-angelic "Over The View", and the closing "Don't Ever Go".
This may well be the summer album you need for those unhurried times in your life. It is relaxing and is sure to put a smile on your face and peace in your heart. Some Other Places is out now as a digital download via Shelflife Records.
Shelflife Records page for Some Other Places