The Tropics - photo by Bob Patterson
Photo by Bob Patterson

The local act that most captured my imagination this year would have to be The Tropics. I first heard them when they released their video for “Sleepless” back in spring. Singer Claire George’s dreamy voice is wrapped in layered melodies of guitars and horns to create pop music without the cookie-cutter feel of many upstart acts.

One song doesn’t make a band, so recently they released their debut EP Wind House with solid follow up single “Fireproof.” I got to see them perform at their EP release party in October, which was great because they packed the stage with their core five members and a three-piece horn section. You could tell that the Rickshaw Stop was probably too small a stage for that many people, but they were all having a blast and the energy was contagious.

A lot of acts big and small sometimes take themselves way too seriously. Not The Tropics; they are having sleepover pillow fights with kids in the “Sleepless” video, then follow it up in the next video for “Fireproof” with an almost perfect shot by shot remake of Marky Mark’s “Good Vibrations.”

There is a quality about well done pop music that is timeless. You can get the same feeling from a song written yesterday that you got when you first heard your favorite middle school jams. To me, The Tropics have tapped into this feeling.

Bob Patterson is managing editor for SFCritic, a blog that tracks San Francisco’s live music scene.