On their first album, And How!, the San Francisco trio known as Weather Pending creates deep, sultry, continuously unfolding music with a sound that’s vaguely familiar and surprisingly unique, a fever dream of exquisite beauty. The band’s sinuous electronic grooves and the smoky vocals of singer Janie Oliver draw you in, enticing you with their understated charm. Bass player and producer Rob Cross accompanies Oliver’s luminous vocals with the dark, melancholy rhythms of hip hop and dub reggae, profound tones that swirl and dance with the elemental force of a restless ocean while guitarist Brian Bloi's chords color with shimmering overtones that emote with aching melodies. The album’s ten sultry songs have a cinematic, one drop, hip hop flavor driven by the subliminal swing enhanced by guest drummers Max MacVeety (Crown City Rockers, Zion I) and Derek G. Taylor (Nino Moschella, Alice Russell, Hyim, Darondo). “We all come from different backgrounds,” Oliver says. “I’m influenced by the theater, studied classical music, and sang a lot of jazz. Rob is a great producer and loves dub, reggae and hip hop. Brian’s lived in Nashville, Miami, and France. He’s a musical gypsy with a cinematic approach to guitar. We’re trying to avoid formulas and let the music unfold with an honest, uplifting message.” And How! is a group effort, a mix of home recordings and studio work, assembled by Cross at Broken Radio Studios in San Francisco. It was recorded live to two inch analog tape on a Studer tape machine, with overdubs done at Cross’s home studio. MacVeety and Taylor, though recorded at different times play simultaneously on almost every track, giving the music a sense of swing most electronic music lacks. “Complicated Two,” the first song the trio ever worked up together, opens the album with Oliver’s lulling vocal suggesting the simmering ache of a broken heart. Bloi taps out thick, harmonic overtones on the guitar and embroiders the melodic line with sparse notes that recall the sound of a Fender Rhodes piano. Oliver interpolates a quote from “You Are My Sunshine” into her closing improvisation, adding an ironic element to the song’s message of loss and regret. “Pieces” is another song of yearning, with a restrained backbeat and an expansive, oceanic rhythm. The live drummers float through the mix blending with an electronic drum loop. Cross’s bass and Bloi’s muted guitar create an ambient, but solid groove. The bubbling, reggae-like pulse of “Tide” makes it one of the album’s most ebullient tunes, blending elements of soul, pop and jazz. Oliver’s stirring vocal, an uplifting chorus, sizzling cymbal accents and Bloi’s sparkling guitar work give it the feel of a classic Quiet Storm track. “Sunlight Fair” is a hip hop samba with an affecting multi-tracked vocal, sustained single note swells, like that of a steel guitar from Bloi that suggest crying and Cross’s swooping bass lines. “Her Thoughts To Me,” the album’s most funky track, is a surrealistic blues that muses on the oddness of urban life. Rob’s brief almost Buddhist rap captures the grim suffering poetry of the homeless, as Bloi plays a guitar line that sounds like a mad calliope at a broken down sideshow. Bloi created the odd, dissonant background noise by letting his cell phone feedback through the pick up on his guitar. The album also includes “Timeless,” a 60’s flavored R&B tune with a ghostly siren-like vocal from Oliver and a sleepy guitar line that floats between Brazil and Andalusia, “Another Day,” which features Oliver’s bright scatting and Bloi’s lyrical steel stringed acoustic riding a hip hop rhythm, and “Electricity,” full of swelling, reverb drenched guitar work, spacey, dub heavy drum beats and another delicate vocal from Oliver. Everyone in Weather Pending writes, both alone and in collaboration with their band mates, which accounts for the wide range of musical ideas that color the arrangements. With the live drummers adding their individual soul, R&B, and hip hop grooves, the music continually moves in new directions, driven by unexpected percussive accents. Weather Pending’s blend of live music with Cross’s subtle studio polish creates music with exceptional warmth and a quiet intensity that brings some much needed verve to electronic music.