What I’m listening to: Eternal Summers

Phreq faves Eternal Summers mature/totally kill on sophomore record

It was nearly two years ago that we first introduced you to Roanoke, VA’s Eternal Summers, the punk-y, reverb-loving duo whose debut record, Silver, contained some of the year’s best raw jamz. Since then, the band has evolved, transitioning from a duo to a trio (bassist Jonathan Woods came on board last year) and from a straight-forward punk unit to a more nuanced and hard-to-categorize musical force. Their sophomore record Correct Behavior (out next week on Kanine) is a mix of sparkling guitar pop, rowdy post-punk and swirling dream pop—that’s quickly becoming one of 2012’s unexpected faves.

“Being a trio has freed [vocalist + guitarist] Nicole [Yun] up to move and explore things a lot more sonically on the guitar,” explains 1/2 of original pairing, drummer Daniel Cundiff, in an interview with Tunes Into. “When we were a two piece we really thought a lot about minimalism in pop and punk music. I think we both felt vulnerable and upfront. I considered us to have a kind of tiny sound...like a small sharp knife. Now... we are growing as writers and musicians [and] we’re using more color and tonal values.”

Correct Behavior practically explodes with color from the very first notes: opener “Millions” teems with oscillating guitar and Yun’s float-y vocals. “I’ve got to shake the shell and break it into millions!” she exclaims, with the type of passion + fury that—I imagine—inspires office workers across the country to fling their papers into the air with abandon, and burst out the front door. (Or at least that’s how it makes me feel.) Follower “Wonder” is equally fling-able, with a clappy beat and potent lyrics about teen angst and isolation (“what do you do when you don’t belong?...Put your record on, shut the back door”)—while “You Kill” is a layered, dreamy exploration of past love + heartache, Yun’s voice breaking just a little as she cries, “What is it to forget you…always.”

And while nearly every track stands on its own as a single, part of Correct Behavior’s power lies in the sequencing—the confidence and affirmation of early tracks giving way to introspection by the time we reach midpoint burner “It’s Easy”: a thick, dreamy reflection about taking time to remember. (“It's easy to forget the one you love,” croons Yun, drawing out each note deliberately.) The weightiness here feels earned, as if Eternal Summers themselves were caught up in the excitement of the early part of the record.

Follower “Girls in the City” is an unlikely stunner, with dark, new-wave-inspired instrumentation over which Cundiff (in perfect deadpan) weaves a tale of (you guessed it!) girls in the city. (They “always get over it,” he states blankly.) Think sexy, intoxicating, and cinematic: the type of late-night jawn you queue up at 2am and serve with whiskey, hoping to impress a “girl from the city” (and almost definitely succeeding.) “Heaven and Hell” is a grungy, spastic rager made sweet only thanks to Yun’s sparkling vocals, while is “Good as You” is its near-foil, with sweeping vocals and arpeggios. And closer “Summerset” is a low-key musing on love and heartbreak, Yun perhaps at her most vulnerable and naked.

“Musically the album is an experience of sonic lows and highs. It’s the most Eternal Summers album yet,” sums up Cundiff. “It’s honest, sweet, dark, and built on struggle.” You had us at “the most Eternal Summers album yet.”

Stream Correct Behavior for free via Hypem, then scoop it up July 24 via Kanine.


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