I love Los Angeles. I make no secret of this fact, and one of the reasons for my love of LA is that it’s a very accepting city, with a diverse community and where there’s literally somewhere and something for everyone, no matter their tastes. It’s so much more than Hollywood and celebrities, it’s freedom.
Sex People, who we wrote about late last year when they released their debut single, ‘Sanctuary City’, are LA people to the core. Fronted by sixth generation So-Cal resident Knarfy, and Nigerian-born hip hop artist F.I.T., the group is essentially a collective of various artists, musicians, and other artists.
‘Cal-Island’, as described by the group,
“is a dreamlike story that follows our three characters on a journey to find true love in a world of promiscuity and fleeting erotic encounters. It takes place in the future in a not so distant Southern California. The characters are the outsiders of society, the rebels, the politically incorrect. On their journey to escape oppression, together they confront love, sex, and life in the modern United States.”
So moving right along, and I return to my comment on ‘Sanctuary City’, where I said that it was like a “sexier, more musical, ‘On The Road'”. And I still maintain this when listening to the rest of the tracks on ‘Cal-Island: Season 1’. Cal-Island is a sanctuary, a place of refuge for all those who are weary, all those who have been confronted and persecuted. Much like the principles the USA was founded upon in the first place. Opening with ‘Like A Queen’, we’re instantly taken into a club, perhaps Silver Lake’s A Club Called Rhonda, LAs “Pansexual Party Palace”. We are immersed into a sonic paradise and are invited to drop all our conceptions: mis-, pre-, and uninformed. It’s alt-rock, disco, and a whole lot of funk, and we are told,
Things look different in the night
you don’t know what is right
until you’ve seen the light
Second track on the EP is the one which turned us on to Sex People in the first place, the Afro-rhythmed ‘Sanctuary City’, which shows that there’s a place for everyone in this world, we just have to make room, and allow people a place to find sanctuary and feel safe.
Things don’t run as smoothly as they should however. Track three, ‘The LA Air’, opens with the line, “we are what we are”, calling to mind Kesha’s anthem. In the future it seems that people aren’t as welcoming as we had hoped: the more things change the more they stay the same. A radio announcer is broadcasting about the apparent chaos being spread by the sex people, until he is confronted by some of the very people he is slamming. The repeated refrain of, ‘Here come the angels” is a clever double play on the city itself and the defiant residents, free, and uninhabited. Realising that it’s not the sanctuary city they’d hoped for, they move on.
Final track on the EP, ‘No West Left’, is at the same time both sad and positive. Sadness because there’s no santuary on Cal-Island after all; joy because they aren’t defeated, they are heading for the stars. The song opens with what sounds like messages relayed into and bouncing back from space. Random clips of TV programmes, including Donald Duck, 50s melodramas, and science fiction shows, give the idea that there’s not just no refuge in Cal-Island, there’s no refuge on earth. The Sex People are taking to space –
We know what’s ahead when there’s no frontier left
We’ll just head out west in rocket ships
And fly out to new continents
Overall ‘Cal-Island: Season 1’ is a brilliant first effort, and it’s hard to believe that Sex People haven’t been making music together long before this. With the suffix on the EP title, thankfully, we can be assured there is plenty more where this came from.