The Passionistas are not a band you have ever heard before. I say that not merely because they are a very young band with a debut album released on a very new label, but more importantly because they have a sound that you have truly never heard before. God’s Boat was released in early June on our friend Will’s label, New and Used Records, and has since been creating quite a stir amongst the bloggers and the media keeping an eye on the San Francisco music scene.
God’s Boat is not an album which will appeal to everyone, but I think that is one of its greatest strengths; this is not music for the masses, nor is it music which will ever find its way onto elevators and across the airwaves at Safeway. The album hits you hard with a rough-around-the-edges mix of garage rock sensibilities and low-fi mumblings, churned in liberally with yelps and squeals and group shouts.
Perhaps one of the more immediately conventional songs on the album is Going Gay, which has a sort of 50’s rockabilly feel to its song structure, but with lyrics and emotions which you would never ever find in a rockabilly tune. One Foot on a Banana Peel has more of a pop sound as well, but here again, a quick listen to the words quickly removes any mistaken assumption that you are listening to a conventional song. The remainder of the 15 songs on the album take themselves off on a variety of tangents, from the very whale-song sounding (and aptly named) American Whale, to the caveman meets military band drumming on the title song, to the disturbing drama that unfolds in No No No, to the nose-thumbing smart-assery of Y2K (why do we have to die cause someone missed a zero), to the 8-year-old girl playground squeals (or perhaps those are seagulls) on So Rock N Roll.
There are some aspects of the Passionistas which do put me in mind of some other bands at times, the yodelling of Born Ruffians, or the brevity and stripped-down sound of Tokyo Police Club, but ultimately the Passionistas have their very own, incredibly unique sound. One might go so far as to call them revolutionary.
To take a listen, head over to the Passionistas' Myspace, or visit New and Used Records to get the full story.