(Artwork care of Karen Ramsay (www.karenramsay.com), profile photo care of brianlackeyphotography.com)

Friday, April 8, 2011

CD review - Eternal Summers, Prisoner (2011)

I shared a taste of Eternal Summers in my March Singles post, but they deserve another sample. The dream punk duo is releasing a new EP, Prisoner, in a couple of weeks on Forest Family/Kanine Records. The EP is a scant four songs, but they've also announced a scattershot of tour dates, including a West Coast sweep (see below).

The tracks on Prisoner are more lively than Safe at Home. Tight post punk grooves are flogged forward with thrashy guitars. The dreamy element comes from the girly ethereal pop vocals. Like sweet and sour or yin and yang, the complementary elements emphasize each others strengths. The choppy guitars and steady drumbeat seem poppier because of the nice simple harmonies. Similarly, the pretty, bouncy vocals pick up an edge from their post punk setting.

It's hard to remember sometimes that this is a duo. Nicole Yun's guitar lines are bass heavy and appropriately full sounding. The drive doesn't leave a lot of time to dwell on it, though; it just sounds like a stripped down band. Looking for comparisons, Eternal Summers sound most like early Liz Phair, maybe Glory (Exit From Guyville) or Dogs of L.A. (Whip Smart), but with less vocal spunk.

The verses in Cog lay down a straight pop vibe, but the staccato guitar on the chorus is where the song finds its feet. This leads well into the title cut, which cuts straight to the new wave vibe. The bass line is simple as sin, but just as compelling.

Child's Mind swirls in a power pop drive. Daniel Cundiff's drums are tight, setting a hectic pace. But there's still time to fit in some economical fills. Finally, the duo catches their breath with the lazy psychedelic start of Pure Affection. The vocals resonate in a dreamy haze as the guitar ebbs and swells. Imagine Julee Cruise singing for an indie rock outfit. Yun's voice is like sunlight glimmering through the trees. This sweet moment contrasts with the edgier rhythms of the other songs, but it's just as satisfying. Even without the choppy punch, Pure Affection has some strong dynamics as it teases with an indie pop bridge before subsiding back into the loose groove.

Catch Eternal Summers if you get the chance.

Eternal Summers tour info:
4/10 - Ottobar - Baltimore, MD *
4/11 - DC9 - Washington, DC *
4/15 - Record Release Party @ Glasslands - Brooklyn, NY %
4/16 - Cake Shop - New York, NY
5/18 - Beachland Tavern - Cleveland, OH $
5/19 - Magic Stick Lounge - Detroit, MI $
5/20 - Empty Bottle - Chicago, IL $
5/21 - 7th Street Entry - Minneapolis, MN $
5/22 - Aquarium - Fargo, ND $
5/24 - The Badlander - Missoula, MT $
5/25 - CRAFT House - Moscow, ID $
5/26 - Media Club - Vancouver, BC $
5/27 - Healthy Times Fun Club - Seattle, WA $
5/28 - East End - Portland, OR $
5/29 - San Francisco Popfest @ Hemlock - San Francisco, CA $
5/31 - Free Instore @ Origami (5pm) - Los Angeles, CA $
5/31 - Echo - Los Angeles, CA $
6/1 - Casbah - San Diego, CA $
6/4 - Chaos in Tejas - Austin, TX $
6/5 - Free Press Summer Fest - Houston, TX $
6/6 - The Saint - New Orleans, LA $
6/7 - The Nick - Birmingham, AL $
6/8 - The Earl - Atlanta, GA $
6/9 - The Milestone - Charlotte, NC $

* w/ Cloud Nothings
% w/ Dream Diary, Golden Dogs, and Lyonnais
$ w/ The Beets

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