Miscellaneous New Album Review

Two Incredibly Creative Rock EPs Made for Summer

As summer’s warm and enthralling climate draws people outside, so does their willingness to switch up our habits. One thing I like to switch up is my music, saying goodbye to The Moon & Antarctica and hello to Sunbather.

Today, I present to you two of my favorite lighting-in-a-bottle rock projects released over the past months that I will definitely be having in my rotation this summer. Both of these projects expand out rock genre in ways I would have never imagined, and they do it with ease.

“Connla’s Well” by Maruja

Over the past year, Manchester post-punk band Maruja have made themselves ever present in the underground music scene with their debut EP, “Knocknarea”. With their tight, abrasive and poetic sound, the band has taken over Brixton’s rock scene at the Windmill. “Connla’s Well” is a second out-of-the-park home run for the group.

“Connla’s Well” feels like an extremely intense massage. Each aggressive drum hit or intense saxophone lick feels like a hot stone, gaining satisfaction through the pain. The soaring vocals cut through the mix, beating muscles and cartilage into a pulp. By the end, it might be the most relaxed you could ever feel.

One thing that I absolutely love about “Connla’s Well” and Maruja as a band is how much they play with momentum in a song. Through carefully layering their vibrating guitar and saxophone like they do on “The Invisible Man”, they can seamlessly make their riffs grow into a flaming asteroid hurling across the galaxy at breakneck speeds.

Maruja’s Alto Saxophonist, Joe Carroll, stated an interview by God Is In The TV, that their sound is influenced a lot by the freedom of funk, reggae, and jazz. And even through the thick and tortured sound, you can definitely make out a lot of that beauty. This is wildly apparent in the closer “Resisting Resistance”.

Overall, “Connla’s Well” is a heavy, brutal, yet gorgeous work of art that you will not regret checking out.

“Twice Around the Sun” by Ugly (UK)

Six-piece Cambridge band Ugly create an incredibly unique experience on their latest project, “Twice Around the Sun.” The project combines styles of choral singing, modern post-rock and 60s and 70s folk, creating a real rural, barnyard feel to the entire project. One of the really standout parts of this project is that all of the songs start really innocent, but grow to monstrous proportions throughout.

The first song, “The Wheel”, is a great example of their amazing progression. The song starts with some cute group singing, with light percussion and strings in the background. This may be a strange comparison, but this part feels like I am having a picnic with all the drawings I made in kindergarten. But then there’s an abrupt and loud halt in the momentum and the beat completely switches up. Now, it sounds like TOOL got a hold of these twangy instruments and are summoning a portal to the underworld with this psychedelic groove. It all feels so natural too, which makes it even more impressive.

This EP has some of the best synergy I have heard between members in quite a long time. All of the choral sections, guitar, and percussion all feel like one driving unit in this music. It really ends up making creating such a powerful noise after it all.

One of my favorite songs off of this EP though has to be “I’m Happy You’re Here”. It really takes its time and grows to such giant and beautiful heights. The harmonies are incredible, the end hook feels like you are waltzing on air into the clouds. It is definitely a strong contender of my song of they year.

Ugly’s “Twice Around the Sun” is one of the most interesting little pieces of music you could get your hands on this year, with a perfect vibe to enjoy throughout this pleasant, hot summer.