It’s hard to believe that “Himalaya” tumbled out of this decade.
Airy and eerie, Summer Fiction’s latest album has a sweet subtlety that feels all but extinct in 2015. And yet, if you’ve spent enough time on the boardwalk, it’s easy to make yourself right at home in Bill Ricchini’s softened, sun-filtered melodies.
“It felt shimmery and sunny, but it didn’t feel warm or hot. It felt a little chilly, like Wildwood in October,” says Ricchini of the album, his second released under his solo project. “It had this tension, this pretty-ugly, happy-lonely tension.”
Ricchini grew up in Northeast Philadelphia before moving to New York to pursue a music career. But “Himalaya” would require a new setting entirely. “I knew I wanted to make a record this year, but I wasn’t really ready to make a record,” admits Ricchini. “So I thought if I gave myself this deadline with an adventure, I’d be able to do it. It’s a little ironic that I live in Williamsburg and I went to England to make a record, but there you have it.”
Recorded in a country house just north on Manchester, “Himalaya” was co-produced with the help of friend and collaborator Brian Christinzio of B.C. Camplight. The result is a beautiful, nuanced collection of songs that are a little heartbroken, a little hopeful and fully human.
“This is what happened when we lived together for two weeks, making music, eating and drinking in a room,” says Ricchini. “It was like the Rolling Stones with “Exile on Main St.,’ minus the smack.”
Old school sounds
There’s an elegant cohesiveness to “Himalaya,” but it came at a price – some of Ricchini’s favorite tracks didn’t make the cut.
“Certain groups of songs work together, and some don’t – and that can be a little heartbreaking,” he says. “Maybe that’s old school, maybe people don’t listen to records that way, but I like to listen to albums that way.”
If you go:
Summer Fiction plays a record release show at Union Hall in New York on June 18 at 8:30 p.m.. It's $10-$12.
On June 20, the show comes to Philadelphia: Boot & Saddle at 8:30 p.m., $12.