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Ear to the Ground: The Range of Light Wilderness’ “Perfect {the First Time}”

Just as Beachwood Sparks perfected the classic SoCal sound, this Bay Area trio captures the vibes of its home turf with a sublime gem of harmonious, psychedelic folk-rock.

If Pavement’s anthemic dream of dividing California into two states (North and South) ever came to fruition, it would only make perfect sense for psychedelic folk-rock trio the Range of Light Wilderness to be the official band for the top half—and the second song from their eponymous debut would be the official song.

“Perfect {the first time}” resonates with the vibes of honeyed-amber Big Sur sunsets and white-capped coastlines where wetsuits are a little thicker and people a little mellower. Of course, you need not be blonde and freckled to bask in TROLW’s crisp, Indian summer warmth. The lower fidelity of this soothing song has more in common with Ariel Pink than Ty Segall, and drummer Jessi Campbell’s organic mechanics play like sister beats to those of the War on Drugs’ Charlie Hall.

Meanwhile, Thomas Frank McDonald’s guitar playing is sublime. His soft-voiced rhythms perfectly match the gauziness of his dreamily confessional vocals. And his warm clean tones remind us that tube amps with lots of clean headroom can sound really warm and easy on the ears if you take some time to dial in a good sound and rein in your attack.