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San Fermin’s hoppin’ new record

| Monday, March 30, 2015

san-fermin-graphic-WEBKeri O'Mara

It can be hard to come across an indie pop band that consistently composes brilliant and inspiring music. I often realize my favorite songs are one-hit wonders from indie bands that are constantly mixing up their genre. My one wish was to find a band that would never fail to fulfill my need for amazing music, and in December 2014 I was blessed to stumble upon San Fermin — the one band that finally provided me with a complete musical experience.

San Fermin’s Ellis Ludwig-Leone is both the pianist and composer for the band. While attending Yale he had the opportunity to pursue his musical talents, and shortly after graduation he created San Fermin with other members, including lead vocalists Allen Tate and Rae Cassidy. San Fermin hails from Brooklyn and produces a very unique style of music that comes across as joyous and confident.

In September 2013, the band released their debut self-titled album. Hits such as “Sonsick” and “Torero” use an upbeat tempo combined with a large array of instruments in order to create an exuberant environment that draws the listener into the beauty of the music. Other songs, such as “Renaissance!” and “Methuselah,” are slower, focusing on simplistic guitar and piano melodies. However, no matter what speed or style, the band has a very distinct sound: a seamless fusion of Sufjan Steven’s rich orchestral arrangements and Imagine Dragon’s punchy hooks. San Fermin sticks to this sound, unlike other indie bands who are, to the dismay of many, constantly changing things around.

“Methuselah,” named after the longest-lived Biblical figure, is a hidden gem on this album. The song begins with a stunning acoustic guitar and piano arrangement. Allen Tate’s incredibly low and powerful voice soon fills the air, creating a soothing ambience. The lyrics illustrate the thoughts one might have after a break-up, as the chorus is comprised of the line, “Are you thinking of me now? Methuselah.” Lines such as, “Have you found a place that’s deeper than the corners of your mind / To settle down?” provide an outlet for listeners to relax and ponder a deeper meaning. If you ever need to sit back and contemplate life, turn on “Methuselah” and let your mind roam free.

In preparation for their new album, “Jackrabbit,” San Fermin has released several promising singles. One large difference between these singles and the first album is that lead female vocalist, Rae Cassidy, left the band in pursuit of her solo career and was replaced by Charlene Kaye. This originally sent me into a panic, as her voice was a staple of the band and gave each song a special feel, but this panic soon subsided after hearing the singles “Jackrabbit,” “Parasites” and “Emily,” all of which sound like the San Fermin I know and love.

“Emily,” their most recent release, is already one of my favorites. The song employs a dynamic approach, transitioning between a neat chorus comprised of Allen Tate’s booming voice and a verse built on the dual vocals of Allen Tate and Charlene Kaye. In this way, “Emily” sounds like two separate songs laid on top of one another.

It’s impossible to overemphasize the majestic quality of San Fermin’s work. Their debut album could not have been more perfectly comprised, and after listening to their first three singles it is clear that the upcoming album is going to be just as good, if not better, than their previous work.

About Nathan Kriha

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