PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.

Music

Eternal Summers: The Drop Beneath

This is an LP that merits liberal use of the repeat button, and, even when it occasionally misfires, there’s always something interesting just around the corner.


Eternal Summers

The Drop Beneath

Label: Kanine
US Release Date: 2014-03-04
UK Release Date: 2014-03-04
Amazon
iTunes

The Drop Beneath, the third album from Virginia trio Eternal Summers is an easy album to like on the surface: it was produced by Doug Gillard (ex of Guided By Voices; he has recently joined Nada Surf), and he is such a particularly great musician that there’s a moment during the guitar solo of “A Burial” where you could swear it’s him playing because it’s in his signature chiming jangle-rock style. There’s a certain dream poppiness and a toughening of sound that makes The Drop Beneath sound, at times, like a mutant cross between My Bloody Valentine and the Cure, the latter being particularly evident in the barbed wire guitars and thudding low end. There’s even a song here titled “Never Enough”, which, of course, shares a song title with a single by Robert Smith’s group. So there’s a great deal to stand up and take notice of.

While previous efforts are said to be innocent and full of pining for first loves, The Drop Beneath makes it clear that the band is ready to leave childhood or adolescence behind with a strengthening of purpose; there’s a real sense of maturity on this disc. Vocalist Nicole Yun practically howls “You could take all your aggression and break me / Break me in two” on song “Make It New”. As well, this is a band that feels like it has a great deal to establish this time out -- in fact, the album appears to have been at least partially financed by crowdfunded efforts -- and the very first words that you hear on this disc are, “Prove yourself if you want to.” It’s clear that Eternal Summers do want to prove themselves here as there’s a great range of styles that the band brings to the table this time out, from the lilting male vocal led Sundays-soundalike “Not for This One”, to the dreamy gauze of “Capture”, which features backing vocals that share the same harmonics as a good Fleetwood Mac tune, to the ‘60s girl group sounds of ballad “Until the Day I Have Won”. Yun has described the music in an interview as “a cock-eyed fusion of pretty pop and heavy rock,” and while the album doesn’t express a particular heaviness, there is sturdiness to many of these songs that make Eternal Summers a group to keep an eye on.

The group is unafraid to get jammy on the title track, the final song and one of the record’s highlights, as it runs for more than seven minutes, and its glassy guitar work and memorable riffage give it a shoegazey sheen with an ending that exits on a pillage of noisy guitar feedback and drone. It’s a monumental song, and it sticks with the listener well after the final fade out. You may just find yourself replaying the track in your head as you go about whatever business you have after playing this album. So its payoff is huge, and, if the last song of an album is said to be indicative of where a group goes from here, I wouldn’t be surprised if Eternal Summers goes even harder and fuller next time out. It’d be all part of an interesting evolution for the band. But there are other highlights to be had, particularly in the front half of the record. “A Burial” establishes itself as a crunching and punishing bit of hard edged dream pop. Follow-up song “Gouge” might just be the most Cure-influenced moment on the album, with the guitars given the same tonality of purpose as said band. And “Keep Me Away” is a lilting ballad that makes Yun’s vocals sound like a purr.

However, there are a few weaknesses. “Until the Day I Have Won” doesn’t stick in a manner that you would expect, and the result seems rather fillerish and meant to pad out an already seemingly long record at 11 tracks. And “Make It New”, a haunting and troubling song, doesn’t seem to fit well with the rest of the album, being more Pornography than Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me. Those sidesteps aside, The Drop Beneath is a balm of an album that showcases the fact that this band can swiftly switch gears and, you know, grow up a little. Repeated listenings also reap great rewards: seemingly ordinary songs are given new meaning and purpose when you hear them stacked back to back. There’s a great deal here that is memorable, accented by Gillard’s jangle pop sensibilities and deft production. So what we have with The Drop Beneath is a solid and engrossing affair for the most part. This is an LP that merits liberal use of the repeat button, and, even when it occasionally misfires, there’s always something interesting just around the corner, a fact that makes The Drop Beneath one of the most endearing albums to come out in the early part of 2014.

7

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Books

The Power of Restraint in Sophie Yanow, Paco Roca, and Elisa Macellari's New Graphic Novels

The magical quality that makes or breaks a graphic novel lies somewhere in that liminal space in which art and literature intersect.

Books

'People of the City' Is an Unrelenting Critique of Colonial Ideology and Praxis

Cyprian Ekwensi's People of the City is a vivid tale of class struggle and identity reclamation in the shadows of colonialism's reign.

Music

1979's 'This Heat' Remains a Lodestone for Avant-Rock Adventure

On their self-titled debut, available for the first time on digital formats, This Heat delivered an all-time classic stitched together from several years of experiments.

Film

'The Edge of Democracy' and Parallels of Political Crises

Academy Award-nominated documentary The Edge of Democracy, now streaming on Netflix, lays bare the political parallels of the rise of Bolsonaro's Brazil with Trump's America.

Music

The Pogues' 'The BBC Sessions 1984-1986' Honors Working-Class Heroes

The Pogues' BBC Sessions 1984-1986 is a welcome chapter in the musical story of these working-class heroes, who reminded listeners of the beauty and dignity of the strong, sooty backs upon which our industrialized world was built.

Music

Mary Halvorson Creates Cacophony to Aestheticize on 'Artlessly Falling'

Mary Halvorson's Artlessly Falling is a challenging album with tracks comprised of improvisational fragments more than based on compositional theory. Halvorson uses the various elements to aestheticize the confusing world around her.

Music

15 Overlooked and Underrated Albums of the 1990s

With every "Best of the '90s" retrospective comes a predictable list of entries. Here are 15 albums that are often overlooked as worthy of placing in these lists, and are too often underrated as some of the best records from the decade.

Books

'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.

Music

20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.

Film

Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.

Film

The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.

Television

Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).

Music

Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.

Music

Aalok Bala Revels in Nature and Contradiction on EP 'Sacred Mirror'

Electronic musician Aalok Bala knows the night is not a simple mirror, "silver and exact"; it phases and echoes back, alive, sacred.

Music

Clipping Take a Stab at Horrorcore with the Fiery 'Visions of Bodies Being Burned'

Clipping's latest album, Visions of Bodies Being Burned, is a terrifying, razor-sharp sequel to their previous ode to the horror film genre.

Music

Call Super's New LP Is a Digital Biosphere of Insectoid and Otherworldly Sounds

Call Super's Every Mouth Teeth Missing is like its own digital biosphere, rife with the sounds of the forest and the sounds of the studio alike.

Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Film

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.