Sciflyer – The Illusion of Unlimited Choice

Shoegazers Sciflyer, from the San Francisco Bay Area (Alameda), have released their next full-length The Illusion of Unlimited Choice.

“There had been a few reunion gigs since 2014 featuring original members from various mid-2000s lineups including Roger Chandler (2001-2004) and Scott Eberhardt (2006-2008) but different times and priorities demanded a different configuration. That new lineup finally solidified when Sciflyer’s head space cadet Steven Kennedy’s longtime friends Sophia Campbell on bass joined in 2016 and Sonya Trejo on drums (2018) …both former members of LSD & The Search for God.

Now with a new female rhythm section and new album The Illusion of Unlimited Choice, Sciflyer is stronger than ever. Sonically, still very pretty. Prettier in fact, and with depth and resonance not previously expressed. Definitely heavier and harder too. We’re in new territory here: A Spacemen 3 / Loop-doing-Telescopes-style pop reimagined by The Meat Puppets place, with Jim Reid singing in a lower register. The trademark hazy vocals are more present than ever and are still haunting. I like this record more each time I listen to it. I’m very grateful to Dan Sostrom, Clairecords for sending Steven to Darla. 

Steven Kennedy jokes that Sciflyer couldn’t get arrested in the SF Bay Area back in their mid-2000’s heyday, but with a decade plus in the rear view, the recent shoegaze revival no one saw coming and the exponential growth of social media, that has changed. Apparently some had actually been listening to their two Clairecords releases (2003 and 2005) and liking them… a lot. And so their reputation and legend grew while they were out of commission.

Their official return began with Clairerecords’ 2014 posthumous release They Only Believe In The Moon, an album completed in 2007 but never released due to the band’s demise in 2008. This was followed in 2015 by an EP of other previously unreleased tracks that stuck in the ears of KEXP djs and listeners. In 2016 an expanded reissue of their critically acclaimed Age of Lovely Intimate Things (Clairecords, 2005) was released on Ben Vendetta’s Elephant Stone label.

Sciflyer has managed to avoid Swervedriver comparisons even though they borrowed a Swervie song title for their name, because as Kennedy explains, “We’re not a fraction as talented”, though some might disagree. They’ve created a sound uniquely their own while still paying homage to their heroes Swervedriver, Loop, Ride, Telescopes, Husker Du, Dinosaur Jr., Meat Puppets and very, very early REM.

A not very friendly critic once wrote, “We get it…they like Verve and Swervedriver… they should’ve called themselves Vervedriver”.  A too narrow interpretation perhaps, but the band says thank you nonetheless…

The title of the new album comes from a concept that Kennedy learned early on (8th grade) from the Swami in The Monkees’ only feature film, Head, “Where there is clarity, there is no choice and where there is choice, there is misery.” How appropriate for today’s on-demand everything, where just choosing what to watch on Netflix can be a longer exercise than the actual watching. “


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