Album Review – Fingers Crossed by Artsick (2022) (Slumberland Records)
The OCD, music nerd in me, means that I have Bandcamp bookmarks for any musical genre that tends to incorporate a semblance/nuance, of anything remotely jangle-pop.
One of these, the C86 genre, seems to be populated with new music from acts that plainly do not know the ramshackle, faux jangled melodies and demi-twee that is the essence of the genre…but hey ho!
Artsick, do not tag this wonderful eponymous album with C86 on Bandcamp, but are eveything that was / is, so very right about it’s aesthetic. As such this Californian indie supergroup, consisting of Christina Riley (Burnt Palms), Mario Hernandez (Kids on A Crime Spree) and Donna McKean (Hard Left) provide the distinct playfulness of the sound in two, quite distinct nuances.
Initially, everything that was so 80s/90s indie-chic about the genre is heard in Restless, Look Again, Ghost of Myself and the gilt-edged standout of Dealing With Tantrums. All such tracks assume a more Burnt Palms influence, with a sound so very Beat Happening in coy energy, with perhaps just a tad of the chunky, truncated The Raincoats bombast and obtuse, augmenting the overall essence.
However, the best of the album is heard in the definitive nosie-pop of Despite, Living A Lie and Be Ok. These tracks let rip with a more punk, early Shop Assistants / Black Tambourine dynamism, that just about delivers melodies through the fuzzy mayhem, whilst maintaining all things indie-pop, through the laid back, almost disinterested female vocals.