The first LP from SadGirl is the perfect companion for a breezy summer day. The LA-based trio has been making music together since 2015, but their previous releases have only been EPs and singles. The wait is definitely worth it. Water is a refreshing mix of soul, surf-rock, slow blues and everything in between. At times romantic and nostalgic, we get the best of classic 50’s to 70’s ballads and pop tunes but peppered in with neat little subversions to add a modern take on the genre.
From the first moments of “The Ocean” we take a dip to the soothing vocals of front man and guitarist Mischa Linde. Accompanied by soft rhythms and flowing doo-wop melodies, we get a sip of what this album is has in store.
“Miss Me” is a slow ballad reminiscent of Sam Cooke. A tune one could slow dance to if not for the heavy air of tension and a fuzzy guitar solo, along with the chorus: “Miss me with that bullshit”. One of the many ways SadGirl changes up conventions to keep things fresh.
“Breakfast for 2” takes you back to the 50’s with its lo-fi production and crooning synths. Released in 2018 as a single, this is one of the few tracks that solidified the group in their current musical trajectory.
Nestled in between sections are instrumentals that add to the immersion. These tracks stand on their own and showcase the groups arrangement chops. “Hazelnut Coffee” highlights the smooth coordination of Dakota Peterson’s bass with David Ruiz’ groove, leading to a fluid psychedelic trip. “Mulholland” is more ghostly and surreal, with everything engrossed in a smoky atmosphere. “Avalon” is my favorite pick of the bunch, combining hula and surf with bongos and samples of crashing waves. An inviting experience that takes you to a summer vacation with a cocktail in one hand in front of the glittering sea, neatly flowing to the next track.
“Water” culminates the album in a stripped down and intimate ballad. Linde’s vocals channels Alex Turner, with that combination of soft and gentle with a slight hint of pain. “While it doesn’t quench my thirst like it used to / Everyday I need a glass.” Suggesting how one’s life may change but we are still stuck in our old habits instead of striving to do better.
SadGirl puts a new spin on established genres. Water is not only a great modern take but also a solid addition to the canon. There’s not a lot of new songs in this style anymore and this should be a great listen for anyone searching for a new drink.