REVIEW: The Chordaes drop superb music video, ‘California’

The Chordaes just dropped a new music video, called “California.” The song is from their In Itinere EP, whose Latin title means “during the journey.” If you go into Urban Outfitters on the West Coast, you’ll hear the song playing. The album was recorded live in-studio to capture the merging textures of the instruments, à la the famed Wrecking Crew sessions on The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds.

Made up of Leo Sawikin (lead singer, guitar) and Ethan Glenn (drums), The Chordaes formed in 2014. Sawikin and Glenn met in seventh grade at The Churchill School in Manhattan, later starting a pop band called Music Elective.

Guest musicians include Charlton Pettus (keyboards, synths, guitar, lap steel, pedal steel, programming), Steve Holley (drums), and Todd Caldwell (acoustic and electric pianos, Hammond B3, Farfisa organ).

The songs on the album signify an emotional journey, an exodus from the shadow land of trepidation to a place of anticipation and possibility. “California,” the last track on the EP, represents the potential of the new.


Or as Sawikin says, “It’s also saying, okay, we’ve arrived at this new place, so what now? It’s sort of a feeling of mystery and emptiness. The jagged coastline and contrasting rugged and flat terrain of California is a metaphor for life. It’s about achieving victory but wondering what happens next – and an acknowledgment that things can change instantly.”

“California” opens with a shimmering blush of colors from the keyboards and guitars. Sawikin’s tenor enters, providing a balladic feel. The drawling twang of the slide guitar imbues the tune with a wistful flavor, as the potent pulsation of the rhythm sets the foundation. Luscious vocal harmonies soak the song in scintillating sonority.

The culminating instrumental addendum sparkles with textured sonic energy, glowing with a tangible sense of sonic imminence.

Sawikin’s dazzling tones bestow the lyrics with transcendent beauty. Sawikin’s eloquence demonstrates his gift with words.

“Through the mountains, so foggy you can’t see / Or an ocean where there’s no air to breathe / Then you see it, what they said was a dream / California came so suddenly / Oh tan lejos, we will go / Ahhh ohh .”

Put simply, “California” is a gorgeous song, one you don’t want to miss.

Stream “California” on Spotify.

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Written by Randy

Randy Radic is a Left Coast author and writer. Author of numerous true crime books written under the pen-name of John Lee Brook. Former music contributor at Huff Post.