Our Take • Santah: Chico

Taken from santahmusic.com

Taken from santahmusic.com

Maybe I'm just listening to more non-hip-hop music as of late, but something tells me that there's a serious resurgence of vintage rock/folk/pop happening within Chicago. Relaxed bands like Whitney, The Walters, and Homme as well as garage hounds The Orwells and Twin Peaks are only a handful of names that come to mind. Another prime example is the five-piece band Santah. This past Friday, they released their album Chico, their first in over three years (not counting a split single that dropped last year).

On Chico, we hear elements of dream pop, of Pleasantville, of David Bowie trying to sing like Starsailor, or of Starsailor trying to sing like David Bowie. They describe their sound as "blurry-eyed dark doo-wop rock-roll." Led by brother/sister singers/guitarists Stanton and Vivian McConnell, their songs and styles have received comparisons to both The Arcade Fire and Bruce Springsteen. I'd throw The Strokes and Jamaican Queens into that pile as well.

While I have yet to go back and listen to their two past albums (White Noise Bed in 2011 and You're Still a Lover in 2012), the tracks within Chico are catchy yet psychedelic. Heavenly stoned yet permanently grounded. They're as groovy as a soda bar and full of such strong, hallucinatory lyricism that you can paint a picture to damn near every song.

Eleven songs deep, Chico is yet another testament to the revitalization of Chicago musicians recreating their own blend of the rock music of yesteryear. Because of Chico, the band Santah is further implanted as being a band to look out for. Because of Chico (and a slew of other recent releases throughout the city), the guitar-driven streets of the Windy City have never sounded so good. 

Be sure to support them at Lincoln Hall on Friday, November 20, for their album release party. They're playing alongside Divino Niño, Ida y Vuelta, and Paperhaus. Given the Spanish title of Santah's album, as well as noticing that two bands with Spanish names are supporting them at Lincoln Hall, one can only assume that this collective is tapped into a multi-ethnic and multi-centric subdivision of Chicago, blending numerous cultures and languages into one melting pot of creativity and culture. Or maybe they're just a bunch of white guys who took Spanish in college. Again, I can't be too sure, but I can't wait to see them live and find out.

[Note: it's worth mentioning here that the opening line on their thumping track "Jefferson" is "I don't care for much these days." We see you, Santah.]


Staff Rating • 8.5