The ultimate irony: a SoCal power-pop band that self-admittedly strives to include every Californian stereotype into its vibe and music. The sun, the seemingly endless freedom, the youthful energy, the non-stop party. But though the Great Escape has been making waves (pun intended — sorry, not sorry) on the Los Angeles club scene and are regarded in some circles as mainstays, none of them are native Angelenos, or Californians for that matter. Two of them aren’t even American. And yet, their self-titled debut might be the best modern post-sunshine-pop record in years.
Citing influences from Hendrix to the Beatles, while drawing inspiration from contemporaries like Adele and the Black Keys, the Great Escape create something totally unique. Album opener, “All I Think About” is a hand-clapping, toe-tapping example of anything you hear on Top 40 today. But when the song breaks into an “Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da”-esque guitar break, it’s evident that this is different. “The Secret Song” is, perhaps, the most staight-forward interpretation of ’60s influences melding with indieness, while the anthemic “It’s Getting Better” is a melodious throwback. From start to finish, the trio’s nine tracks are exciting, unpredictable and varied, making for a great listening experience.
And even though the trio landed somewhere in the ballpark of the Californian essence they so love, it’s the very un-LA raw, unpolished quality that makes the whole effort really work. An undefinable element brings authenticity and true musicianship to the work, whether it’s on a gritty guitar solo or in lead singer Amie Miriello’s Joplin-like vocals. As drummer Kristian Nord says, it’s “all about the performance, not about perfection.
“When a take had the right kind of vibe to it, we just moved on and didn’t even second guess it.”