By Conor Hooley
The Symbols’ new self-titled EP is a pretty decent slab of indie pop music. There’s an effortlessness and confidence to the material, and rarely a moment that sounds unnatural or forced. The band has a sophisticated-yet-whimsical sound, and it suits them: At no point does the EP feel bogged down by self-awareness or the obligation to be serious. The end product goes down easy without feeling trite.
The opener “Kristin” would be a prime example. The song is a breezy-sounding lamentation of unrequited love, with some tasteful keys from vocalist/singer Mer Sal. “The Way I Feel” moves into moodier, blues-like territory and is equally good.
Sal may not have a classical singing voice, but she uses it to great effect and has personality to spare. Her vocal delivery has an obvious verve, a talent for ad-libbing and a tendency to extend and enunciate words to their fullest effect. These are all good things, which becomes clear on the surprisingly funky “Shake It.” With only a few repeated lines she is able to take a rather sparse track and breathe a lot of life into it.
The best is saved for last, and “Ephemeral” is a beautiful, restrained closer with more quality keyboard work from Sal and a nice solo from guitarist Jasco. It’s lush and organic, and really fleshes out an impressively diverse EP.
The Symbols EP is really solid stuff, and its warm, summery vibes make it a rather timely release. There’s a lot to enjoy here, despite it only clocking in at under 20 minutes.