Wednesday 2 September 2020

The Umbrellas - Maritime

It was always pretty easy to give C86 an identity in the 21st century because it had never had one before. C86 was the name of a compilation tape, a snapshot of a country’s underground guitar scene one season, not a shared sonic ideal. As one of the tape’s contributors, David Westlake, said, it was “a scene centred on a number of disparate bands”.

A few of those disparate bands, particularly Jim Beattie’s Primal Scream and the Razorcuts, sounded like they only bought records made by American bands from 1966 to 1968. Which is where The Umbrellas come in.

So if C86 means superior jangle, Roger McGuinn guitars and actually now you mention it pretty high production standards, then that’s what The Umbrellas are. They’re from San Francisco, a city currently punching above its weight with a ton of great bands - sort of similar, but disparate.

Perhaps historians will give 2020’s San Francisco scene a name. More likely, contemporary popkids will delight in The Umbrellas’ simultaneous discharge of jangle and harmony. And when they release an album on Slumberland next year, maybe people will draw a comparison to when Creation heard Razorcuts’ I Heard You The First Time ep on Flying Nun and signed them to record an album.