WHAT FACTORS came together for Bigfoot, the debut album from Santa Monica pop band Cayucas, to be the consensus sound of summer in 2013?
• The band name: borrowed (slightly modified) from a sleepy California surfing village nestled between coastal mountains and a scenic stretch of Pacific Ocean.
• The song titles: "A Summer Thing," "Deep Sea," "High School Lover," and even a B-side called "Swimsuit."
• The videos: a hazy parade of beach crowds and sun-dappled suburbs, deck shoes, white blazers, and pastel shirts.
• The sound: a snappy confection of killer pop melodies, tropical rhythms, and a sheen of reverb that reaches all the way to the horizon.
Frontman and principal songwriter Zach Yudin embraces the narrative. "It's great," he said in a recent interview, days after returning from the band's first European tour. "As an artist just starting, you need any sort of hook or praise you can get. If people are saying this is the album of the summer, that's awesome."
Never mind that Bigfoot was completed a year and a half ago, in Oregon's winter, with help from producer Richard Swift. "For me, it was less about summer and more about nostalgia," Yudin says. "But I guess nostalgic things for me are from the summertime."
Yudin, 30, first surfaced in 2011 under the name Oregon Bike Trails, a preternatural pop-craft wizard emerging from out of nowhere to upload his winsome tunes to the internet. They earned the attention of the Secretly Canadian record label, which signed Yudin and released Bigfoot on April 30.
The album's buoyant aesthetic has drawn Cayucas comparisons to Vampire Weekend, the Shins, and the Beach Boys, though Yudin says he listened to "strictly hiphop" in his formative years. And while he's pleased with his recent success, he recoils a bit when asked whether his next album will mine a similarly warm, radiant vein.
"I don't think I'm going to write another summery album, per se," he says. "It'll definitely have those elements... but it'll probably be toned down. I don't think I'll have (a song) called 'Swimsuit, Part 2' or something like that."