words Laura Rojas
cover photo Dusdin Condren
It’s a Wednesday evening and Toronto is suffering from a heat wave. Record highs of +40 celsius melt the plastic from my sandals to my feet while I struggle to bike home from work, uphill, real beads of sweat dripping from my chin.
I reach my apartment. Close the door and turn on the AC. I lay on my bed attempting to reach a reasonable body temperature and begin listening to Dancing at the Blue Lagoon, the newest album released this past June by California-based twin-brother duo Cayucas. Since 2012, Zach and Ben Yudin have been putting out music through Indiana label Secretly Canadian, channeling Santa Monica within each of their two albums.
Track one, “Big Winter Jacket,” plays over my speakers and in my overheated haze resembles the opening credits of a movie. A good beginning. I picture kids running across a green field like a screensaver, a pair of teenagers spending an afternoon in the city for the first time. Already the album was taking a different direction than what I expected, being used to the beachy vibe Cayucas sent out with their 2013 Bigfoot debut. I sink into my bed and stretch my muscles, feeling infinitely better.
“Moon Eyed Walrus” comes on and brings me back to the early days of a lazy summer. I turn off the AC and open the back patio door allowing sunlight to stream into my small, boxy room. The album continues along the same train, bringing catchy vocal hooks, twangy guitar solos, and jutting drum beats fit for outdoor dancing. Track three gets me singing “hella, hella, hella” all around the kitchen and pouring a glass of mango juice. I drop a few ice cubes in because hella, I’m feelin’ it.
Although the laid back, California-esque feeling that’s made these guys a summer staple remains, a few tracks stand out as having gone through a revamp. “Champion” pumps out a jolting, moody ballad, singing truthfully “sometimes, it seems there’s no explanation. It’s just because.” Followed promptly by “Ditches,” introduced with mellow piano and a hint of weeping strings. Lyrics tell of memories too vivid and the adversity felt towards staying in a rut. I relate, we all do.
Then the title track, “Dancing in the Blue Lagoon,” comes on and it sounds just like the name professes. Bright blue and talk of sand, “ooooo-ooo-oooo” and“waa-aa-aa” ‘s strewn throughout the chorus, and you feel like Hawaii. “She was dancing, dancing, dancing” and now so are you.
“Blue Lagoon (Theme Song)” ties the album to a close with an acoustic rendition of young crushes – melancholy, personal and very intimate. In a sea of diamonds, golden letters above the marking. And after this, you feel like you can go home happy.