Sic Alps

San Fran rock clan Sic Alps decided to record its latest self-titled LP in a studio rather than doing it at home. The move wipes off some of the shitgaze found all over four previous LPs and a mountain of 7-inches. But it’s not just the production that makes Sic Alps a little more sparkly. The band employs some new-old sounds—strings, piano, and guitars that are less fuzzy, more refined—while forgoing sonic explosions for simple pop serenity. “God Bless Her, I Miss Her” might be the most polished pop song Sic Alps has ever recorded, with a verse that runs almost the entire length—so good, it could go on forever and likely never get a complaint. “Moviehead” includes an outro solo that’ll lodge itself in your ear canals for days. When guitarist-vocalist Mike Donovan and Co. aren’t slipping earworms in your cocktail, they’re wining and dining you with some serious stunners. The album’s final two songs—“Rock Races” and “See You on the Slopes”—are peculiarly delicate and gorgeous, the latter closing things out with nothing more than piano and Donovan’s vocals. For as quiet as those final moments are, Sic Alps couldn’t have gone out with a bigger bang.