Part Time – PDA

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Rating: ★★★★ ·

San Francisco’s Part Time already have one album under their belt, but it’s their newest record, PDA that really shows the group’s acceleration into the upper tier of small-time indie bands.  This collection of songs is filled with dreamy touches and swinging guitar lines that allow for musical escapism of the best sort, letting you drift into the caverns of your mind.

Opening numbers “I Want to Go” and “How Do I Move On” set the emotive quality of PDA, bringing in guitar lines that, while angular, maintain an essence of escapism, encouraging you to let yourself go as those chords seem to drift into the distance.  The haunting warmth of David Speck’s vocals on these tracks further push you into a state of mind that leaves you relaxed; these aren’t forced sounds, rather they unfold slowly as dream pop should.

Of course, Part Time isn’t here merely to lull you to sleep with their melodies.  They also push you towards that slow 80s body sway, especially on a song like “Living in the USA.”  For my two cents, this track wouldn’t be out-of-place in a lot of nostalgic dance collections, though it maintains a softer touch, perhaps perfect for a closing dance scene in a John Hughes flick.  Similarly, “Sonando de Ti,” uses the group’s synth-orchestrated backbone to kick things off into a sultry groove.  It never hurts, for this listener at least, to have lyrics thrown my way in Spanish.  But, while the group’s nod to the past is definitely fresh in sound, the group fares far better when they employ more prominent guitar work.

“I Belong to You” is the track from PDA that resonates the most.  The vocal delivery is lackadaisical, yet still has an element of smoothness to it that makes things endearing.  All the while the guitar chords provide a crisp cut throughout, increasing my willingness to float away in my mind with this number.  Also, the guitar chords make way for a wash of synths on and off, which serve a nice accent, but don’t dominate the track as they do in other spaces on the record.  Attention to detail goes a long way to making this one of the tracks that stands out in the ears of the listener.

While the opening moments hint at a collection full of dream pop hits, Part Time clearly has other place they’re willing to journey off into, such as “Funny Moods” with its bouncy rhythm.  This actually serves the whole of PDA well, as you don’t get stuck treading in one place, one sound.  You’ll find yourself getting carried away, yet you’ll be pulled into the songs as you explore the intimate details lurking here and there.  It all leaves you with a diverse listening experience that both excites you and allows for escapism…the perfect blend for a solid album.

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