On first glance, Sic Alps’ 22 tracks on Napa Asylum may feel like a lot to take in for just one album. But, the beauty of these 22 tracks stretched over 45 minutes is that a new song seems to stand out with every new listen. Sic Alps is the definition of lo-fi garage rockers. Some tracks on Napa Asylum are laidback acoustic fare, some songs are heavier and loud, while others feel like a bunch of random ideas thrown onto tape. Listening to Napa Asylum, you wouldn’t be out of line comparing these tracks to demos. This may sound like a potential disaster, but Sic Alps pulls it off with ease.
Some tracks on Napa Asylum immediately stand out, such as “Cement Surfboard” and “Do You Want to Give $$?” The former track is a mellow, ‘60s garage rock jam that hits all the right marks for sonic enjoyment while the latter sounds like a thrown-together jam, incorporating whistles. Both work surprisingly well. “May Ltd” is a noisy, drum-driven garage rocker in glorious lo-fi, while guitars are loud and in your face on “The First White Man to Touch California Soul.” Moments like these are then broken up by quick tracks which barely tally up to a minute or just over, quick ideas thrown onto tape.
Napa Asylum could have easily been a disaster, but Sic Alps makes it work. Their work is endearing, intimate and feels very personal. Almost as if you have stumbled upon a cassette of home demos they made for their friends, but decided to share with the world. And for that, we’re lucky.