Soundtrack to a California Summer: Naive Thieves "Santa Ana"
If I have one talent - and that is a very big "if" - it's finding out about up-and-coming bands about three years after they up-and-came. Such, alas, is the case with the Riverside band Naive Thieves - but unless you're hip to the indie scene of the 909 they're probably new to you, too!
The Song "Santa Ana" is a Total Summertime Jam
Although they come out of the Inland Empire, this is the most classic "Orange County Summer" sound I've heard since Sublime's 1996 ballads or No Doubt's 1995 Tragic Kingdom.
It just feels like home - your best day ditching high school at the beach, hanging out in your first boyfriend’s garage, spending hours relaxing on the couches of Ikea Tustin Marketplace.
There's no avoiding the obvious: the lead singer Cameron Thorne's voice sounds like the voice of Julian Casablancas from The Strokes. It's raspy and gravelly and croony - it's the kind of distinctive voice that was honed at smoky garage parties but that will sound familiar to your grandmother.
If I wanted to be lazy (and I do, always) their new release Void can easily be described as "imagine The Strokes, playing a cover of early No Doubt." It's a reductive comparison, but it's a fantastic song.
But where the Strokes' music is all dirty hair and Rough Trade, Naive Thieves is stylish - Suavecito, beach winds over sandy parking lots and the oldies playing from a few blocks away. Even in simple tracks, you can hear hints of doo-wop, ska, 60s surf, traditional Mexican, reggae and classic pop.
Here's a Summer Jam You Can't Hate On
It’s a few trumpets short of a ska band - but maybe, maybe one day they will add a brass line and I will be in heaven - but there is a definite reggae influence that reminds you of drinking a beer under the palm trees while the lowriders pass by - as slowly as humanly possible.
It's classic California at its finest, and my favorite thing to come out of Riverside since drinks at the Mission Inn.
The video for the single Le Sheik Rhat somehow even made Fontana look cool.