Review by Shannon Shumaker
Suzy & the Lifeguard’s new EP is like a breath of fresh air. Warm, refreshing and poppy, the first track, “The Way Back,” brings the album in perfectly with soothing vocals and instrumentation that takes you back in time to soulful 1960’s pop music. “The Way Back” feels like sitting by the poolside on a hot summer day, and on top of that Suzy’s voice is absolutely remarkable in this track. The runs she does in the first song are incredible, and she simply floats through them with ease, string and horn instruments supplementing the song as it soars through your speakers and makes you wish you were on the beach or in Los Vegas.
“Airplane Arms” starts much darker and more serious sounding than “The Way Back,” but explodes into a beautiful chorus with a full orchestra, making for an incredibly big and modern take on 1960’s pop. The vocals are like honey in “Airplane Arms,” especially in the slow beginning and in the way they bring the big chorus in.
The best part about this EP (besides Suzy’s jaw dropping vocal abilities and the unique sound) is easily the fact that each song is strong for its own reasons. Each track has its own specific strengths, which means the EP does not get repetitive or boring by any means. “Airplane Arms,” for instance hosts some of the most stellar instrumentation on the EP, from a full orchestra to an insane guitar solo about halfway through, all on top of beautiful vocal work. “Stella” stands out because of Suzy’s faster vocal runs and the catchy synth parts. The lyricism in “Stella” is also very strong and smart, making the song super fun and upbeat where the following song, “Ever Been In Love” is slower, a little darker in the verses with bright, blooming choruses that paint a picture for the listener. On top of that, the vocal harmonies in “Ever Been In Love” are absolutely beautiful. “Casanova,” the second to last song on the EP, is easily one of my favorites. A smooth and beautiful love song, “Casanova” is just an easy listen.
Closing out the EP is Suzy & the Lifeguard’s take on Frank Ocean’s “Thinkin’ Bout You,” with a 1960’s pop twist. Suzy’s voice is very well-suited for this song, making the cover a perfect ending for the album. By the time that the EP comes to a close, the only complaint I have is that it isn’t a full length (which isn’t really a complaint, but mostly me being selfish because I want to hear more). The thing that makes this EP so strong is the fact that these songs have what modern pop is lacking - on top of the incredible instrumentation, which is usually watered down with catchy drumbeats and simple chords in modern pop, you can feel the emotion in the vocal work, even if it is simplistic or not delivered in hard hitting metaphors or in your face lyrics. I can’t wait to see what Suzy & the Lifeguard does next, and I’m praying for a full-length.
Listen to "The Way Back"