JEFF BURIAN, of local R&B/pop brother duo Béisbol, is sitting poolside during a visit to his family's home in Hemet, California, when I phone for a chat. The setting, though I can't actually see it, is almost too perfect, given the carefree summertime sound on Lo-Fi Cocaine—the debut album from Béisbol, the group he's in with his younger brother Ryan.
Over the past two years, Béisbol's been a familiar live entity. After moving to Portland from SoCal in 2011, the brothers—who reunited through music after years of drifting apart personally and geographically—converged on groove-oriented neo-soul and late-'80s pop as a schematic for Ryan's hook-riddled songs. Add Jeff's sonic texturing to the mix, plus a freakish brotherly telepathy, and you've got the makings of something good.
"Most of our communication is unspoken," explains Jeff. "We're on the same page most of the time. Blood has that effect."
Jeff and Ryan wrote and performed every note on Lo-Fi Cocaine, a feat that necessitated four months of studio time, 10 hours a day, six days a week at Family Farm studios in Lake Oswego. Once you hear the spiraling depths of production and layers of sound, it becomes apparent that the record was more than just cutting some takes.
"It was just the two of us laying down every track, so it was very tedious," says Jeff. "It took a long, long time and... obsession, I think might be the word."
That obsession paid off. Lo-Fi Cocaine is a fantastic homage to those timeless intersections of radio pop that flaunt disco-style beats with lite-rock, new jack R&B, and lots of synthesizers. Jeff and Ryan's voices, as you might expect, harmonize together flawlessly, stacking yet another level of infectiousness to the band. The result sounds familiar; those melodies somehow already the property of your memory, like a groovy rock time capsule.
"You hear all of these great things you love and that you're so attached to, and it's all so personal," explains Jeff. "It's nostalgic without being overly nostalgic, I hope. I don't want to be a throwback act. We try to bring a little flavor to it. We've definitely got love for our roots."