Aguas Frescas (Part 1) (Last Gasp Records)
Reviewed by Neph Basedow, Fri., Aug. 21, 2015
Led by Real Estate, Wild Nothing, and Yuck, the late-Aughts delivered indie pop's second waves of surf rock and shoegaze. None was novel, yet each was great. On their debut, dream-pop locals Wildfires land in a similarly not-so-mutually-exclusive territory. Opener "Bad Breath" embarks sans frills, a down-strum guitar setting singer Gabe Baldwin's reserved vocals. Despite an unabashedly foolproof "ooh ooh" chorus, it's the EP's catchiest cut. Later, "Lazy Daze" evokes Beach Fossils' similar sound, its crisp guitar tone gliding beside soft-brushed percussion. Frank Zappa was mostly right: The good music has already been written. But Wildfires isn't attempting to one-up their predecessors to re-cast shoegaze destiny. Rather, they're genre purists. That there's not a tune worth skipping on this lean disc marks their truest accomplishment.