While the notion of nostalgic-minded pop music is hardly news these days, there’s just something about hearing the voice of Kevin Arnold that makes me swoon. The beginning of both tracks on Oregon Bike Trails’ debut release earlier this summer feature the words of awkward, fictional, high schooler Kevin Arnold and his secret crush Winnie Cooper. The plot and character interactions are classic, and Zach Yundin, the brains and talent behind Oregon Bike Trails, captures that youthful embarrassment on his records.
Yundin’s exposure has snowballed all year, and this month’s “High School Lover” is the first vinyl release from Oregon Bike Trails, presented by San Francisco’s terrific Father/Daughter Records. And although the track has been floating around for some time now, originally released for download, then on cassette through Chill Mega Chill, “High School Lover” never loses the boyish charm it exudes. The song tells the story of a young boy chasing, and losing, his high school sweetheart.
Mix that with the reverb-drowned ’50’s style pop, and “High School Lover” is undeniably delightful and about as catchy as pop songs get. The lyrics read like the script from any teenager’s high school memories, pining for that one special girl, and it’s that relatable nature on each of Oregon Bike Trails’ tracks that make them appealing.
The single will be backed with a brand new track from Yundin, entitled “Cayucas,” which is apparently about Cayucos but “spelled differently for a special reason.” I have no idea what either word means, but I do know that Yundin has an amazing string of tracks leading up to this release, and that his highly specific, eclectic sound will only grow as his popularity and resources grow. Yundin will soon be adding his brother to the band as well, hoping to perfect a live sound as they take “High School Lover” on tour at the end of 2011 and into next year.
There’s certainly no shortage of retro-tinged pop, but Yundin’s transparent and rather empathetic lyrics make for a less shallow version of his peers, all the while embracing the sun drenched genre tropes.