This little duo from Austin, Texas, is all about reviving the spirit of stripped-down, '60s California garage on their debut, Yellow Fever.
Yellow Fever's a kitschy band, and sometimes that works in their favor, like on "Donald" or "Joe Brown." They do come off as gimmicky in some places, especially in their more self-referential moments. "Cutest Boy" is a bit too on the nose in its subject matter: "My brother and me / Went to a show/ And we saw everyone we know." By-the-numbers garage-pop that's about being an indie-rock superfan doesn't play all that well.
Yellow Fever's more beguiling when they're crafting oddball pop about "all the cats ... going home" on the surf-tinged "Hellfire." Their paean to Donovan (creatively titled "Donovan") feels unnecessary and overly thematic, and when Jennifer Moore sings, "He gets his recognition from the hippies and the bumblebees," you're either going to be won over by the cutesy-cuteness, or you're not.
What's best is that the bass is really the centerpiece of Yellow Fever, from the simple but irresistible groove on "Ratcatcher" to one of the album's best tracks, "Donald," which is all melodious bass runs and girl-group come-hithering. There's something in the stark simplicity of the arrangements that works.
Yellow Fever is best heard as the soundtrack to a self-consciously retro beach-blanket party. But it's also something like being privy to the rock 'n' roll daydreams being beamed out of the bedrooms of ordinary girls from bygone days, and that's kinda groovy.