Jaialai have been making waves in Miami for a few years now, but with the arrival of fresh and funky Victor’s Belt, perhaps we can be so bold to say that the indie-rockers have officially arrived.
The quartet comprises of lead vocalist and guitarist Oscar Sardiñas, Jose Adames on guitar and synth, drummer Richard Boullon and Mario Lemus on Bass. The fellas got together in 2016 after meeting at a party and bonding over their shared tastes in music (and beer). The mixed heritage of Jaialai’s bandmembers can be heard in their playful, sunny rhythms which contributes to the group’s unique, indie-soul sound (Adames and Boullon are Venezuelan, Lemus is from El Salvador and Sardiñas has Cuban roots).
The group are relatively new on the scene, releasing their first EP, Say So, last year in May: a fantastic debut combining elements of dream-pop, shoegaze and psychedelia to create a trippy, experimental, soft-rock sound. However, if Victor’s Belt is anything to go by, the band’s upcoming EP will be something of a turning point.
Pairing a hypnotic, reverb-rich guitar melody with an easy-going Afro-Cuban rhythm, Victor’s Belt emerges as a chilled out, modern twist on the surf-rock sounds of the 60’s. Though hailing from the East-Coast, Jaialai channels that trippy, mesmeric vibe of 67’s Summer of Love, which saw thousands of West-Coast hippies flock to the streets in San Francisco. It hits a satisfyingly familiar note for lovers of that era’s magical sound, with a nod to bands like The Zombies and Jefferson Airplane.
Check out Victor’s Belt on our Surf Rock // Surf Pop playlist too!
We begin with a stripped back, bass-driven hook that instantly reels us in. As the beat kicks in (hip-shaking bongo drums and a steadying snare) a snaking guitar riff enters the picture and suddenly we are cruising with the roof down, taking a trip (mmhm!) in the heat of the Californian desert. Sardiñas’ calming, heady vocals are delivered lightly, casually, almost as if he’s reciting them only to himself. He starts, with , ‘Once in the morning leave it alone/ Twice in the evening takin’ me home’. It’s instantly catchy, the echoing vocals melding with the creeping bass to send us into a sort of rhythmic trance, like palm trees waving to the beat of the breeze. He follows with ‘It’s like that’, a chirpy little phrase he repeats throughout his tale, always followed by, ‘Let ‘em know why’. It’s a little mysterious, and we want to hear more. But as we progress, all will not be revealed, the tantalising tidbits of information we’re treated with play like a memory from a particularly awesome party; foggy on the details, bar a few intriguing specifics.
At one point, things get particularly trippy as Sardiñas describes, ‘There in the corner/ Stoned to the bone/ Besting an edge lord in a kimono’. It sounds like a pretty crazy scene, but he simply shrugs ‘it’s like that’ and instructs, ‘let ‘em know why’. It’s this hallucinogenic imagery and lack of clarity that’s part of the track’s fun, hazy charm. Already ensnared by the psychedelic guitar riffs, the slithers of story draw us in even closer, and the end result is hypnotic. We can’t help but nod to the beat in agreement, ‘It’s like that’.
Stay tuned for “Culebra”, which comes out Feb 28th, 2020.