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'80s synth pop meets '60s folk

Wicked Smart
Wicked Smart
By The Predicates

Self-released: 2007

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This review first appeared in the Nov. 15, 2007 issue of the North County Times.

You wouldn't necessarily think there existed a musical space between coffeehouse folk and '80s synth-pop, but San Diego's Predicates have found such a spot and inhabit it with exuberance and style.

On the band's third release, Gregg O'Connell and Erica Putis have as gorgeous of vocal harmonies as you'll ever hear. They approach the vocals as a team, jointly singing the lead together, as one voice. He also plays lead acoustic guitar, while she plays bass. The '80s sound comes in from Bryan Difabio, who plays synthesizers and runs a drum machine.

Reading the above, it seems like it might sound a bit weird. In fact, the band's sound is utterly at ease and comfortable.

The songs' structure is more folkie than synth-pop, in a Jayhawks kind of vein. And yet, Difabio's (credited as D-Fab on the liner notes) contributions are as integral a part of the band's sound as the vocals or acoustic guitar.

A bit hard to explain, frankly – but when you listen to the music, it all makes perfect sense.