Sunshine surf-poppers A B & The Sea recently released their debut full-length album, Constant Vacation. The 10-track collection, which includes “Bone Dry,” “California Feeling,” and the title track “Constant Vacation,” is an ode to a retro, clap-happy California beach sound exemplified in previously released songs like “Yellow-Haired Girl.”
We chatted with Patrick Brown, the album engineer and owner of Different Fur Studios in the Mission (where Constant Vacation was recorded), about the labor-of-love release.
TBB: How long have you worked with AB & The Sea?
PB: I’ve worked with the band since they moved to San Francisco around 2008 to work with Chris Chu (of The Morning Benders) on their first record. He produced, I engineered. The record didn’t end up getting released, except for the singles “Suzie” and “Yellow Haired Girl.” Constant Vacation was a different process than previous projects mainly because everyone has worked together so much over the years that we all know what the rest of us are capable of. I love getting to engineer (and especially) mix creatively, where an artist allows me to add in my own ideas along with everyone else’s … and this very much felt like a group effort.
TBB: Tell us about working with your friends on an album like this. What was the process like?
PB: We had a lot of fun — I mean we’ve been friends for 4 years. We’re really close. The night we got done with “Short Straight Bangs” (the first song we finished on the album) was a really busy weekend night, and we all went out to look for a calm bar in the Mission (impossible) and ended up being the only table of post-recording-high giddy drunks at the (now defunct) Rite Spot. We were all so stoked on the day, and got to celebrate with lots of tequila and surprisingly adept kazoo music! In general we’ve spent many nights at the studio drinking beers and having big group sing-alongs on the piano … we get the work done and then just relax and have fun. I live above Different Fur, so we would go up and check the mixes upstairs on the stereo that i’ve had since i was 15 or 16 and hang out and talk shit, play each other songs we’ve been listening to and discuss everything and anything.
TBB: Sounds like a pretty excellent time. How do you think the end result shows the band’s growth over the years?
PB: When I met these guys, they were young and their music reflected that. It was always great, but there’s a maturity in their songs and lyrics and production now that make them interesting as a pop/rock band, and make this a really complete thought as an album. The music is definitely pop, but it’s not shallow.
Constant Vacation Track List:
1.Constant Vacation 03:26
2.Taking It All Away 02:48
3.In The Sunshine 03:39
4.California Feeling 03:56
5.Bone Dry 02:30
7.Material Love 04:00
8.Bad Girl 03:31
9.Let Me In 03:51
10.Short Straight Bangs 04:22