How do you live in two worlds at once? On CHICO, Santah’s second full-length record, the Chicago dream-pop group looks inward and pretends it’s possible. The resulting work is a tonally rich, cryptic self-inventory, where it’s possible to both be yourself and see yourself.
Santah identifies themselves by contrast in the world of Chico. They have conversations with various incarnations of themselves, or their “twins”. Former lovers & future children, cousins & crushes, parents & partners all wind up smeared and strewn about the record, appearing as both opposites and same spirit as frontman Stanton McConnell, who sings to them with equal parts adoration, frustration, lament and libido.
This self-examination sinks Santah into some of their deepest grooves to date. Drummer Steve Plock and bassist Mike Winegardner pin down the arrangements, allowing the band to become substantially more dynamic than previous efforts. The songs are tonally rich and are elevated by Tommy Trafton’s warm layers of synths and by stacks of blooming vocal harmonies from Vivian McConnell, who further blurs the record’s imaginative sightlines.
Though muscular and texturally dense, Chico’s arrangements still feel light and summery. Floating between two planes of the mirror, Santah manages to both find and escape themselves in the lush landscape of Chico. They’re singing two hymns and believing every shiny contradiction.
5/30 • Chicago, IL @ Do Division Fest
6/2 • Champaign, IL @ High Dive
6/3 • Indianapolis, IN @ White Rabbit Cabaret
6/4 • Louisville, KY @ New Vintage
6/5 • Lexington, KY @ Best Friend Bar
6/6 • Bowling Green, KY @ Tidball's
6/7 • Chicago, IL @ Remix Fest
6/26 • Dixon, IL @ Palmyra Pub
6/28 • Chicago, IL @ Logan Square Fest
7/10 • Woodstock, IL @ Kingston Lanes
7/19 • Chicago, IL @ Taste of River North
8/7 - 8/9 • Appleton, WI @ Mile of Music Festival
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