Label: Captured Tracks Release date: 13/09/10 Link: Myspace Buy/Stream: Amazon A La Piscina sounds a little like it was recorded in a bathroom. A sun-filled Californian bathroom with an original 1970s avocado suite and framed Ronettes prints on the walls, and a queue of well dressed teenagers banging on the door for their turn to get the sound of 2010. In a few years time, this summer will without a shadow of a doubt be remembered as the season of the dreadfully monikered 'chillwave', and Aias, citing early pioneers of the genre Best Coast and Vivian Girls, as well as Phil Spector, as influences, have hopped on their vintage roller-skates to hitch a ride on the tailgate of this bandwagon. Their whimsical, sunny sound is characterised by swirling fuzzy guitars, horn sections, and an omnipresent sweetly hissing Wall of Sound. So far, so unoriginal. Despite this shameless capitalisation on a buzz genre that should, by rights, left to vocalists like Bethany Cosentino with her pitch perfect vocals to lift the music out of a noisy twee implosion, the debut LP from this Barcelona based band is really charming. The all-female trio have put together some lovely two-part harmonies, and cheerful and utterly hummable melodies and the overall result is somehow greater and far more unique than the sum of its parts. The album has a rare naivety that is extremely endearing. Opening track 'Tu Manes’ is characteristic of the band's sound, with its minimal backing of scuzzy guitars and echoey drums over appealingly tuneless vocals sung in Catalan. 'Mon Inventant' sees the introduction of the horn section, which sits neatly beneath the vocals with its simple and infectious hook. This is second only in catchiness to title track 'A La Piscina' with its 'Ba-ba-bas'. This album couldn't possibly be reviewed without addressing the language the lyrics are written in. While there's no shortage of non-Anglophone musicians at the moment, there's a strong tendency for them to write in English, with Phoenix being a particularly pertinent example. It does raise questions about how worrying it is that the English-speaking fan base carries so much clout that bands feel pressure to write and record in their non-native languages to stand any chance of vague commercial success in the US and the UK. The language barrier doesn't seem to be an issue for non-Anglophone nations, with Bethany Cosentino only this week describing 1000 Portuguese fans singing 'When I'm With You' along with her. While the fact that a non-Catalan speaker can’t understand the lyrics does not spoil my (great) enjoyment of A La Piscina in the slightest, I find it hard to imagine a similar sized crowd of English fans singing along verbatim to 'Quan Tornis Dema.' And that is absolutely their loss, though it would be a travesty if this promising band missed out on deserved attention, simply because of the language of their lyrics. Photobucket