How authentic can you get? Chicago’s Sam Vicari bought the recording tape for this project at a yard sale, bulk erased it, and loved the washout and weird frequency response of its badly abused iron oxide. Does all this show up on the low-fi speakers we live and die by today? Maybe in a Phil Spector, mix-it-through-a-transistor… radio… way. Vicari’s vocals and backing are the sort of clunky rock and roll we remember from high school dances and late night AM stations coming in from New Orleans or Salt Lake City. Vicari has an upbeat sound, the voice is three-packs-a-day smooth, and the musicianship is more concerned with sounding good than sounding slick.
“Buildings, Bridges” shows that urbanism is still a valid hunting ground for romance and emotion, and you don’t need to be out in the woods with the hippies and the deer ticks to feel fulfilled. “Cause and Affect” (that’s how it’s spelled) offers a rough and chunky guitar reflecting a rough and chunky love life — in this case maybe the city isn’t as fertile a romantic ground as in the last song. That’s why Heart Explosion gets you; you’ve followed Sam as long as any random Game of Thrones mook, but you’re sad when the happiness is suddenly chopped off.
Those three reels of recording tape make this project worthy of the lo-fi DIY cheapness. You can take this album to bed and commiserate. Nice work, Sam.