San Francisco four-piece Cindy came onto the scene in 2019 not with a bang, but a hushed whisper—and they’ve been spinning the volume knob to the left with each subsequent release, bringing the tempo down with them. Their self-titled debut, a strong run of twangy pop tunes, had a head-in-the-clouds simplicity that summoned shades of indie-pop legend Rose Melberg, but at two-thirds speed. They followed up with Free Advice the next year, continuing to shine with a delicate incandescence, but this time filtered through partially-drawn blinds; the instrumentation and stony vocal delivery shimmer through like sunbeams, but with decreased momentum and more separation, as if trying not to touch one another. Their latest, 1:2, comes during a sleepy September as summer nears its end. The clouds have rolled in and the curtains have been firmly pulled closed.
1:2 is an album for daydreaming in the peaceful comfort of a bedroom, filing away the memories of a summer just-past, still visible in the rear view mirror. Karina Gill’s vocals plant themselves down like mile markers along a highway, guiding us ever forward through Cindy’s aural landscape, while leaving plenty of space in between each line to drink in the scenery. Opening track “The Common Era” casts a rolling pasture with fuzzed-out guitar, synthesizer gliding on air, and barely-tapped cymbals. And “To Be True” creates a comfortable embrace through harmonized barbershop-esque vocals backing a partially sung, partially spoken monologue, the waltz-time percussion swaying from side to side.
Karina Gill describes her first encounter with a guitar as a matter of simple happenstance. She found an abandoned Squier Stratocaster in the basement of the house she moved into; it was in a fragile state of disrepair and “mummified in electrical tape,” she said. Gill doesn’t use that guitar anymore, but Cindy’s songs still possess a quality similar to that rickety old axe—held together by the most delicate of bonds, they feel like they could scatter to the wind if a single piece falls out of place. But, handled with care, they still sound beautiful.