By: Maria Kornacki
Twin brothers Zach and Ben Yudin make up the surf rock duo, Cayucas. Their latest album, Real Life was released on April 19th via Park The Van Records. Any previous fans of Cayucas know they’ve been around. Real Life represents their first release since their 2015 sophomore album Dancing At The Blue. Cayucas found a way to hit the syllables of words just right to match the drums’ heartbeat on each song of their new record.
The band’s latest single, “Jessica WJ”, is signature indie-rock that took a dive into infectious pop. It’s the perfect introduction to an album embracing fresh starts. With nearly one million streams on Spotify, the single is also accompanied by an adorable music video. This song is the first on the album, which sets the scene for West Coast drives and salty-haired beach days. I can’t help but call it one of my favorites on the album.
Title track, “Real Life” creates a dizzy spinning feeling due to its synth-heavy tendencies. It also sounds a bit spooky at times. The following track, “Girl”, brings on a hint of night-life. “Girl” is a song to play when the day is ending, but there’s still a burst of energy. Lyrics like “swept away when the tide got high” keep the album in motion as it ebbs and flows into different moods. Directionless appears to be the theme of this song as it reminisces on an ambiguous girl and “walking downtown with nowhere to go”. Throughout “Girl”, there’s a drawn out echoing repetition of “dreaming”. This word adds to the sensation of waves slowly luring you back into the denial of a summer day ending. “Melrose Place” simply amps up the dreaminess with a kick drum and lush falsettos.
The album seems to pick up towards the end. Especially the tracks “Tears” and “Winter of 98” that drip in nostalgic sounds. We also get a better taste of the band’s storytelling. “Winter of 98” grabs the listener’s attention immediately with the lyrics “ice cold winter of 98” because most of the songs stay true to the lively summer themes. Winter can then be associated with a darker memory.
Next is “Naked Shower Scene”, an acoustic guitar ballad with a notable tone shift. Not to mention, it’s also the shortest song on the album. I enjoyed hearing more stripped down vocals after listening to the upbeat songs. “What It Feels Like” remains high-pitched, giving off an openness to the song’s energy. The title phrase sounds like a canyon cry floating up into the sky. Actively engaging the ears with varying electronic sounds, the last two songs on the album illuminate a positive feeling.
I listened to this album twice, back-to-back because you tend to pick up more nuances or songs that weren’t appealing the first time around. Some of the earlier songs had more of a groove the second time (i.e “Girl”). Overall, there was still a noticeable contrast in the strength of songs in the second half versus the first half. Perhaps it was a recognition of the band’s confidence shining through. Vulnerability was also a colorful asset to this confident sound. I could sense more of the emotional ties to these songs from the passion in their voices. Zach and Ben’s range also appeared to stand out more.
Creativity and optimism aligned for Zach and Ben Yudin of Cayucas as they stepped foot into new territory for “Real Life”.