California Wives’ latest release, Art History, is a collection of mellow indie pop jams that starts off promising, hits some turbulence in the middle, but finishes strong. The album opens up with the upbeat, power pop infused number, “Blood Red Youth,” that brings the disc into overdrive with its powerful drums. As if to just tease the listener with, California Wives brings the fun and summery mood down during the light “Tokyo.” The piece, much like its name, features a light intro with tranquil keys, much like a calm river, until the springy guitars ripple through it. Art History seems to be able to fit as a soundtrack to a movie, or just life in general with its natural flow. Despite this positive attribute, “The Fisher King” lacks that sparkle that the other cuts contain, even with its cool sea breeze vibe. The abstract “Photolights” and “Purple” bring new elements to Art History. Through the use of distant vocals and odd harmonies, “Photolights” paves the way for the catchy “Purple.”
Sadly, “Better Home” is just a bland cut with a smooth brass section. Even with the disappointment, “The New Process” redeems the lackluster number with its dramatic keys and guitars, and really makes the album stand out. Even with the rough patches, Art History is still an enjoyable release that will carry the summer vibe into the cool fall months.
In A Word: Average