Californian trio Flamango Bay have returned with ‘LA’ their second single since signing to the 0800-MOSHI-MOSHI imprint, alongside news of debut EP The Fool. Delivering on the hazy surf-pop vibe of their previous track ‘Fishing For the Sun’, this longing ode to the City of Angels offers a delicate and carefree escape to the balmier climes of the American West Coast.
Opening with a skittish drum beat and a punching bass groove with a tone warm enough to heat your house throughout the winter, the breeziness of Ikaika Gunderson’s vocals and jangling guitar hooks evoke the soothing feeling of beachside walks – something the band romanticised before moving there from San Francisco’s Bay Area. That said, the sudden bittersweet chorus that arrives afterwards almost feels like the plummet down to reality; being hit with the realisation that for all the dazzling surroundings it has to offer, the city can’t fix what’s going on inside of you.
Written amidst multiple lockdowns while Gunderson was grappling with internal struggles of gender identity, ‘LA’ gives off a release of anguish and demonstrates a freedom of expression, even if the song’s subject matter deals with certain emotional pains. The contrast of the proclamations of “it never rains in California” followed by “wait, here comes the rain” show this disappointment in the realisation that things don’t suddenly change based on where you are in the world, and that rather than coming to terms with the crushing feeling, sometimes it’s simply easier to deny it.
While often reminiscent of acts like Mitski and Alvvays in their marriage of yearning lyrics and gorgeous soaring melodies, there’s a real charm to what Flamango Bay put on show on this track, and with the EP on the way, this could mark the first step in the direction of the success those before them have seen – perhaps the move to LA does have that silver lining to offer.
Words: Reuben Cross
Flamango Bay’s debut EP ‘The Fool’ lands on May 13th via 0800-MOSHI-MOSHI. Stream and purchase the singles ‘LA’ and ‘Fishing For the Sun’ via Bandcamp.