Now Wave presents Abracadabra w/ Adjustments + Umarells
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Oakland-based Abracadabra create unconventional pop music that shoots for the 60’s but lands in the 80’s. Comprised of core duo Hannah Skelton (cassiopeia) and Chris Niles (maus haus), Abracadabra pulls wide influence from the charismatic energy of Tom Tom Club, dub hits of King Tubby and the melodic sensibilities of Stereolab.
Abracadabra took shape in the wake of a chance encounter when Niles and Skelton were recruited to play together in a Halloween band covering Eurythmics’ art-rock debut ‘In The Garden’. Over the years of touring and opening for acts like Tycho, Amon Tobin and Matthew Dear, Niles had amassed a backlog of demos that did not fit in with his current band. After hitting it off with Skelton, Niles played these demos for her and the two immediately began collaborating, effectively combining Niles’ obsession with bass-centric rhythm with Skelton’s formal music background.
Working in tandem with studio whiz Jason Kick (Mild High Club, Sonny and the Sunsets), the duo began to flesh out the demos with recording sessions around Oakland. The demos were further brought to life at the Vintage Synthesizer Museum in Emeryville. Channeling sounds from legendary synthesizers such as The Fairlight CMI, Niles and Skelton were able to experiment with sound sculpture to create psychedelic and industrial sounds inspired by their mutual admiration for Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel.
As the songs were progressing, Niles and Skelton were hit by a car while parked at a red light. This event directly shaped lyrics for tracks “Riding In Your Mind” and “Wandering”, but also – conceptually – the album. Many of the songs reflect upon our fragility as humans, our inability to predict or control the future, and the struggle to remain stable despite the chaos of urban life on a deteriorating planet.
The duo balances the at-times heavy subject matter of the album with luminous arrangements and ear-worm grooves. Songs like “Hello Peru” or “Comb Your Hair” yield a percussive and buoyant quality while “Cherry Soda” is undeniable with its acrobatic bass and reverie-inducing harmonies. Their dynamic live band is filled out by jazz drummer David Volker (Young Elders) and multi-instrumentalist Jess De La Cruz.
Abracadabra is releasing their self-titled debut album July 24 via Anniversary.