Tag Archives: pacifico

Review: Pacifico’s Thin Skin and an Open Heart

So this is the first album review for Radio Free Raytown.  I have been frustrated by writing reviews for other publications in the past, so now that I have my own thing going here, I’ll do it the way that makes sense to me.  As always, please let me know if this format is valuable.

Artist:  Pacifico
Album:  Thin Skin and an Open Heart
Label: Allalom Music, 2009

  • Pacifico is the project/band of Matthew Schwartz.  I identify with a guy writing pop songs but never having a consistent band with whom to record and play.
  • The album would be at home amongst albums by Jimmy Eat World, Copeland, Richard Swift, Death Cab for Cutie and Starflyer 59.
  • Speaking of Starflyer 59, the album was produced Jason Martin and features other members of that band, and it sounds like it was recorded immediately after Dial M was recorded.  Same drum sounds, mixing and everything.  That’s not totally a good thing, as Schwartz veers into some Kinks-like territory toward the end, and some looser production should have been in order.
  • The first song, “(Prelude),” sounds way too much like a Richard Swift song.  And that’s a good thing.
  • The song title, “Caroline, Oh,” is cute.
  • “We Are the Easily Forgotten” is the best song on the album.  Super catchy.  Check it out.
  • Schwartz’s vocals are almost always doubled, and there are usually many more layers by the time he reaches his choruses.  I would like to hear him a little more bare; push back the instruments and allow a lone vocal to shine.  From my own recording experience, it seems like his singing to the other vocal layers stifles his desire to convey more emotion, at times.
  • “Salvation Army” sound a lot like a Sam Billen or Death Cab for Cutie song.
  • Overall, it’s a catchy and pleasant album.  I’m kicking myself for missing the band play at The Beaumont last week.

If you want a copy of the album, Allalom Music is selling it for $12 (including shipping and handling).  It will also be up on iTunes soon.

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Driving. Rotation. Pacifico. Freddie Mercury.

I started my job as a Pizza Hut delivery driver on Sunday. (I cooked and delivered pizzas through college, so there was no learning curve. It’s okay, while I look for a real job.) The hours are horrible if you enjoy a happy marriage, but I have had some joy in driving around and listening to music. I just don’t think enough people really listen to music in their cars these days. Everyone’s distracted by their cell phones, or they just listen to the crappy radio with commercials screaming at you, breaking up what few songs are played. Anyway, my rotation this week, in no particular order…

  1. Joy Electric – Ministry of Archers (2005)
  2. Starflyer 59 – Dial M (2008)
  3. St. Vincent – Actor (2009)
  4. Joy Electric – Curiosities and Such (2009)
  5. Marty Wilson-Piper – Nightjar (2008)
  6. Pet Shop Boys – Alternative, disc 2 (1995)
  7. TV On the Radio – Dear Science (2008)
  8. Pacifico – Thin Skin and an Open Heart (2009)
  9. Martin L. Gore – Counterfeit EP (1989)
  10. R.E.M. – Murmur (1983)

I really dig the new Pacifico album. Matthew Schwartz sounds like he’s singing for girls but also not singing for girls. Sure, most of his songs could appeal to the self-enlightened teenage girl who thinks that the Juno soundtrack rivals Abbey Road, but there are many more points of reference in his music than trendy, chick-friendly schmaltz. He’s a really good singer, channeling a lot of Brian Wilson at times, with a cavalcade of background vocals. I also hear touches of The Posies, Starflyer 59, and maybe the Go-Betweens(?).

On a complely unrelated note, my brother-in-law was on a Queen kick yesterday. Now I can’t get “Save Me” out of my head.

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Thin Skin and an Open Heart

The cover to Pacifico's new album, Thin Skin and an Open Heart

I should tell you about Allalom Music’s current special. If you pre-order Pacifico’s new album, Thin Skin and an Open Heart, for $12, the label will throw in another one of its releases for free. The CDs will ship on August 4.

I know it’s really hard to convince people to pay for music in these days, especially when it’s a band they’ve never heard of, but that’s just what I’m doing.

Pacifico is not really a big and famous band, so I’ll post one of its pop songs, “Ruby,” from its Facedown EP as a teaser. (And since the band worked with a couple of the Starflyer 59 guys on the new record, I expect to hear even more, hopelessly romantic, jangly, British-leaning rock.)

Please check it out. While you’re there, look at their other artists, since you’re going to want one of their CDs as a part of the deal, anyway.


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