Summertime is slinking past. We’ve been so busy wiping the sweat from our eyes, it’s hard to believe August is here. Maybe I’m losing it a bit, but it seems as if each summer gets a little bit hotter, a bit murkier. This awareness might be chalked up to growing older and less giddily distracted by the popsicle, fireworks glory of summer. Whatever the reason, this summer has been stifling and few things have provided that cooling relief.
Surprisingly, one of my sole comforts has been music; in particular, the music of Pure Bathing Culture. I have managed to convince myself of the value found in that old adage, “mind over matter.” The mellow, ambient notes of their self-titled debut EP play a lovely and somewhat cruel trick. My ears tell me that I am tranquilly drifting down a lazy river, drinking coconut water. They also tell me that I am being filmed for a scene in a John Hughes film and that I belong to a group of high school misfits, who have run away to spend a perfect summer together at the beach. Then the four-song EP stops and I realize I am still a twenty-two year old working three summer jobs. Plus, it’s 101 degrees outside.
The nostalgic tones of this Portland-based band’s music are unique and lovely in their escapist stylings. With a move from New York to Portland, band members Daniel Hindman and Sarah Versprille also made a bit of an escape. Transitioning from years as members of Brooklyn band Vetiver, the duo wanted to create something fresh and uplifting in its newness. This new place, and new sound approach has revitalized their music and allowed Pure Bathing Culture to craft a short but dreamy album that leaves you wishing it would go on. Consequently, you find yourself listening over and over.
The first song I heard from Daniel and Sarah was an acoustic version of “Ivory Coast,” filmed by Natural Beardy for a Beardy Session. The song instantly drew me in with its honest hopefulness. Sarah’s unadorned voice reminded me of a classic 1950’s songbird. A stripped down, relatable Zooey Deschanel. A voice and a singer we can love because she wishes and dreams as we do. She has great bangs as well.
In their single, “Ivory Coast,” Sarah warmly croons about a love that will stand the test of time, “I know that you will love me till my eyes do close, you’re what I love the most.” Daniel’s gentle harmonies affirm Sarah’s hope that there will always be someone for her. The duo’s music reminds listeners of the importance of dreams, that hope is a necessary beauty. Also, that we just might survive this hot, hot summer.
Pure Bathing Culture is currently touring the West Coast, playing shows with the likes of Bryan John Appleby and Y La Bamba. You can order their EP from Father/Daughter Records.
– Brittany Price