Scoville Unit Double Up With “Beach Song” and “Sidewalk”

The weather has turned, the sun is roaring, and there’s no better place to be than the beach. July is all about the shore: the broad stretches of sand, the beautiful people, the wind and the surf and the energy in the air. Beach days require beach songs; luckily, the members of Scoville Unit have you covered. They know all about the shore – these four tuneful rockers have roots in New York, Philly, but they’re most closely associated with the surf-loving Garden State. When they sing about the sand and the water, they do so with familiarity; they grew up on these shores. As “Beach Song” director Troy Carlton shows us, they look pretty natural with the Atlantic Ocean right behind them.

But “Beach Song” is more than just a blithe summertime escape. Gandhar Savur’s sturdy, catchy songwriting guarantees that you’ll still be humming the chorus long after your beach day is over. Savur is a specialist in the sort of tight, crunchy, ’60s-influenced pop-rock that bands like the Smithereens used to make – songs with big, baited hooks and alternately jangling and fuzz-drenched six-strings. Few indie artists in the New York metro area are any better at smithing choruses or fitting wistful tales of romantic longing to memorable melodies. He’s always had ace accomplices, too: many of the songs on the upcoming Scoville Unit (out this September on Ernest Jenning Record Co.) were developed with the assistance of Greg Gonzalez of the acclaimed dream-pop outfit Cigarettes After Sex. In the studio, Savur joined forces with guitarist Kevin Shelbourne, drummer Rob Hunsicker, and bassist and long-time collaborator Drew Isleib to add muscle and punk urgency to the arrangements.

Savur has worked with Carlton and Crane House Films before, too. The Wilmington, North Carolina-based video director shot the delightful, skateboard-themed clip for “Sidewalk,” the lead single from Scoville Unit. For “Beach Song,” Carlton’s camera chases a rider on a different sort of board – the kind that dances between the waves. Actress Eimanne Zein, the surfer who stars in the “Beach Song” video, brings her long-board to the ocean in the first frames of the clip, and leaves with it tucked under her arm in the last ones. In between, she glides through the waves on it, sits on it with her feet in the sand, and rests in its shadow. She also does some metal detector-assisted beach-combing – and the objects she discovers buried beneath the sand each tell stories about the lives of others from times past, who also felt the magnetic pull of the surf in summertime. In the end, she’s able to bury a part of herself in the very same sand. The footage of Zein surfing, which was shot in LA, juxtaposes perfectly with the footage of the band filmed on the opposite coast at the Sandy Hook beach in New Jersey, creating an engaging storyline that encapsulates summertime.