Album Review: Eternal Summers ‘Correct Behavior’
Breaking out of your comfort zone. At the moment you begin trying to, it isn’t the easiest of things to accomplish. As human beings, there’s a hesitation to try and stick with the familiar, regardless of whether or not that familiar is still even good for us. On the opposite end, too much change all the time can send you into a cluster fuck of a life. You may accomplish a ton of little things, but in the end you could have collected 100 pennies and only have a dollar for your efforts. That’s probably the toughest part about progress…trying to balance not only what you’re good at in the present, but also pushing yourself in a positive direction of growth.
People judge indie rock all the time by the maturation of a band’s sound from album to album. While I think this is a tad overrated of a conversation point, it definitely holds at least a little bit of value. Mostly, I think people want to hear something different than what they’ve heard…but as the Morning Benders have reminded us, perhaps not too different. On the opposite end of that, The Roanoke, Virginia trio Eternal Summers have combined the perfect amount of past mixed in with some intriguing new substance on their sophomore effort Correct Behavior. While 2010’s minimalistic pop punk alum Silver had it’s merits based on the rawness associated with a band’s beginning, the group made a splash back in May with the announcement of their new album and the first single “Millions”. A distinctly polished pop song, it’s sound is in stark contrast to the lo-fi attitude the of 2-3 minute songs on their first album. Was this a total change up? A sign of things to come? Well, yes and no.
It’s fitting that “Millions” is the lead track on Correct Behavior as it represents the track that represents the biggest philosophical alteration for the group. Like when making a mix tape, I always like to lead with a hit. If you want to keep someone interested and listening, you better wow them at the start. And that’s precisely how “Millions” functions for this album. It’s a tone setter. It’s not the deepest song, but it is by far the most fun. It’s a looker that allows you to get into the bigger details on this album. But this is not an album of polished pop songs. In general, these songs are much fuller and more well put together than Silver, but that punky, lo-fi flesh is still very much here. “Wonder” the second song on the album, is a rebellious sounding track that puts the point of this album in a nut shell when singer Nicole Yun proclaims, “day and night, it’s night and day, correct behavior.” “Who Kill” follows with a reverb-heavy guitar drone and a complete feel. While shorter tracks are typical of the lo-fi genre, there’s something to be said for letting a song develop to it’s fullest, which is what the group does here perfectly.
“I Love You” immediately follows and is the song most reminiscent of the first album. It’s short, fun, beachy, and has a killer bass solo just after the one minute mark before the group breaks it down with the slowed down “It’s Easy”. Which brings us to the most interesting, and perhaps greatest song on this album: “Girls in the City”. With the flip of the vinyl to the B Side and drop the needle, it is a shockingly great change up as Daniel Cundiff takes the lead vocals in a mysterious, heart-breaking song about betrayal. While Cundiff’s voice stays in the low octaves and doesn’t venture too far away in terms of range, it’s dark mood and mesmerizing beat set a feeling unlike any song I’ve heard in quite some time. I’ve probably listened to this track 20 odd times already, and I feel like I understand it completely, and not at all, at the same time. In any case, I’ll leave it to you to sample and decide for yourself.
“Heaven and Hell” follows with Yun sounding like an angel amongst the chaos of the guitars below before the mood is slowed down once again with “Good as You”. That’s another aspect to this album that may go unnoticed, but the spacing of the songs and their particular sound is perfect. Never overwhelmed with too much happiness or despair, the songs float along like a perfect days highs and lows. The album closes with “Disappear” and “Summerset”, a dreamy song that sets the sun on this summer day. When the needle ventures into the static of the vinyl edge at it’s close, you’re left with an earful of contentment in this brilliant sophomore LP.
Correct Behavior is out now via Kanine Records. Those of us in Cincinnati and throughout the Midwest can catch them in person at the MidPoint Music Festival in the Cincinnati sometime between 9/27 and 9/29.
Written by Greg Dahman