“Everyone’s hoping that nobody sees/all our little efforts at dignity”
This last line of the title track from Cindy’s fourth LP Why Not Now? works as a slogan for Karina Gill's evolving musical vision. Her music is simple out of necessity and introverted in delivery, but the songs contain vivid worlds and are quietly ambitious. With this latest batch, Gill pulled the process of making Cindy music even more inward. “Some of these songs were first recorded as demos alone in my basement. I think that process set the tone for the record…Maybe it set up a kind of starkness,” she says.
Moving on from the fixed quartet that performed the first three albums, Gill worked alongside original keyboardist Aaron Diko to develop the songs and they enlisted players from the ever-blossoming SF pop scene to realise her minimalist vision -- members of Flowertown, Telephone Numbers, April Magazine, Famous Mammals, and Sad Eyed Beatniks to name a few. The collective sounds fill out the record perfectly with John Cale-esque viola on ‘August’, lo-fi fairground organs, and a tasteful full-band sound that crops up throughout. ‘A Trumpet on a Hillside’ is the most triumphant Cindy has ever sounded, all ascending chords and a wedding march melody tumbling out of an old synth. Still, some of the best moments are Gill alone, as on ‘Playboy’, just naked guitar and voice, and when the forlorn whistling solo kicks in, it feels like the loneliest star is imploding in a distant galaxy.
While the dream-pop tag is probably still relevant, this isn’t algorithm-fed genre ambience. Gill’s vocal/lyrical presence can be as gently momentous as Leonard Cohen or as intellectually potent as any ’79-’80 Rough Trade post-punk. “In writing a song”, Gill says, ”all the disparate parts of being me momentarily correspond, like car alarms and party music momentarily matching beats.” Cindy’s Why Not Now? is that muffled street symphony inside a passing daydream.