Kiwi ingenuity is a term probably only known by New Zealanders. The phrase essentially means making the most out of something no matter how big or small or how many resources one has. Musically, it also refers to going against the grain and doing something different without completely alienating the masses. So while trio Santa Barbara may currently call Los Angeles home, the three hail from Down Under and they’ve brought with them plenty of the Kiwi creativity.
While it would have been easy for Cassie Gaffaney (vocals/guitar), Geoff Maddock (bass), and Nick Gaffaney (drums) to trend the usual California pop, rock, and electronic waters, the trio have opted for a whole different approach. Specifically, they’re taking classic ’50s and ’60s doo-wop and mixing it with summertime surf-rock. The result is something highly infectious and delightful, such as their new single “Marianne’s Dark Eyes”.
If No Doubt was plucked in the middle of Arnold’s Drive-In from Happy Days, they would probably sound a lot like Santa Barbara. Fuzzy guitars, groovy rhythms, and sweet, innocent harmonies fill the air on the song, causing gentle swaying from side to side and leaving a smile on your face. Despite the playful vibe of the song, the story deals with a much more serious matter. As Cassie describes:
“I personally know people who battle with depression everyday and have seen its effects. I’ve seen how unrelenting and consuming it really is. It’s almost like putting on a mask of being happy and normal but with a buried sadness underneath, and that’s how I wanted to approach this song.”
Not only are Santa Barbara displaying Kiwi ingenuity at full force on this track; they’re also demonstrating another characteristic common among New Zealanders – an incredible thoughtfulness for others.
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