I’ve taken several trips with Semi Trucks’ debut LP VS. California and I’m still not sure how to describe it. It’s hard to label the sound of Semi Trucks, although the fact that it’s released by Meritorio Records definitely is an indication of its quality.
VS. California is a mellow record, full of hazy soundscapes and lush melodies. It’s the kind of record that hooks its way in your skin and brain, offering a brief respite from your daily struggles. Despite its understated and lo-fi nature, the music of Semi Trucks is powerful: It will elicit feelings and emotions. Without paying attention to the lyrics, there a sense of melancholy to the music. VS. California is not necessarily a depressing record, but it has that same heartbreaking beauty of the music of the late David Berman.
Semi Trucks is the brainchild of Brendan Sepe who wrote all of the songs and performed most of the instruments, only receiving support from a handful of guest musicians on specific songs. With VS. California, Sepe goes against the streaming age trend of releasing a couple of hits that do well on playlists, and not bother about the quality of the other songs on the record. VS. California is best experienced as a whole. Give this one a chance, it’s kind of special.