Multi-genre musical project Californiosos, a group consisting of Farmer Dave Scher and Michael Vest, has just released an eclectic self-titled debut album following the releases of some promotional singles. Spanning across eleven tracks, the album from this adventurous duo explores nature, oneness, spirituality, and the restorative powers of music. The end result is incredibly ambitious and bold, bringing moments that can foster true connection, or at the very least put on a great jam.
One word that comes to mind when tackling this Californiosos debut is dense, which is in no way a setback. The pair of musicians bring wild journeys of sounds and feelings that cover multiple instruments, genres, and themes. In any given track from Californiosos, you may hear charming acoustic folk, psychedelic guitar solos, wild choral chants, funky organs, bluesy harmonicas, pan flutes, or African percussion rhythms, just to name a few. This ability to hear so many musical influences in one album is incredibly exciting and often mystifying. Sometimes Californiosos feel like a Grateful Dead-inspired jam band, sometimes a little Dylan porch crooning section, sometimes a drum circle with long-haired college kids on the beach. The joy of listening across the record is the surprise of which angle they throw at you next. While "Queen of the Amazons" brings uplifting hums of enlightenment, "Dig It Up!" brings daunting rips of funk while the closing track "Little Spinning Planet" brings a sweet ballad of contemplation.
This brand of free-spirited eclecticism is surely no gimmick. It feels uniquely genuine and real to Californiosos, a group that is both knowledgeable and passionate about the music they draw from. To hear their music is to hear what they love. Each line is written with all-out transparency to create an honest intimacy that is both touching and entertaining.