By Lyndsey Jimenez
Syracuse’s own Summer Cult’s new EP, Songs for Eva, released Aug. 8, is based solely on a photograph found at a flea market. On the EP, the band wrote a story about a woman they don’t know – and they don’t do a half-bad job. The EP is a little folky, a little pop-y, a whole lotta acoustic, and contains catchy beats. Regardless of your music preference, you’ll catch yourself nodding along to lead singer Marissa Van Boden’s dreamy voice (reminiscent of Ingrid Michaelson on Be OK) and the slightly random tambourine chorus.
Since the June release of its debut EP, Pink Shoes, Summer Cult has grown as a band in its sound and individuality past its folksy campfire days of Pink Shoes, and into its own as a solid, self-proclaimed “alt-country-dream-pop” band.
Aside from the fact that they’re a little more Bon Iver now, songs like “Ship to Sail” really capture the vibe of not only the band but the EP as well. It’s catchy, maintaining a pleasant alt-folk vibe that won’t scare anyone away. The final song on Songs for Eva, “Just Bones,” is the least memorable, simply because it doesn’t have the same oomph that “Ship to Sail” and “Touch Me” have. Melodically, it’s not as cohesive, and quite frankly a little slow. It’s something that would make a person fall asleep as opposed to bop along at a show. “Touch Me,” the opener of the EP, is simple. It starts out a lot like “Just Bones” with quaint acoustics, but once the chorus hits, you just know that the band really has matured this past couple of months.
If the EP had to be described in one word, I wouldn’t quite use “Alt-Country-Dream-Pop,” for reasons other than the fact that Summer Cult really isn’t country at all. Instead, I’d use another word that Van Boden uses: dreamy. The EP takes listeners back to a time when it was okay to run around in the sprinklers, and happiness wasn’t just a symptom of naivety.
I’m giving this one 3.5 out of 5 stars.