Garage and surf rock are funny, loaded, layered and complex genres. They represent youth, wildness, recklessness, ferocity, and passion, almost by nature and certainly in light of the '50s and early '60s r'n'r that created the genre. Also, almost inherently, due to the aged source material, there is a sense of dreaminess and nostalgia that comes about, from listening to old records - the auditory equivalent of a Wonder Year's episode.
These dreamy and introspective tendencies are really brought to the forefront, when combined with the ethereal distance of dream pop, as is the case on Light Years a short and bomb pop sweet EP from Boston's Aüva.
Things start off with the glammy she-bop of "Into Place", with a skiffling and lighthearted drum beat - reminiscent of other garage rock revisionists like The Vivian Girls. The sparkling, chiming guitar arpeggios, and greyscale paisley psychedelia reminds me of 4ad bands like The Cocteau Twins or This Mortal Coil. This foundation is fleshed out with Aüva's distinctive 3 part harmonies, which has earned them comparisons to The Mamas & The Papas, although their much airier and sweeter.
Things get a little moodier on "Sunburn", which blends Dick Dale surf-twang guitar, with a go-go beat and moody churning burning organs, which makes it come across like SoCal surf rock coming together with some Texan roadhouse psychedelia, like The 13th Floor Elevator. "Sunburn" is a good metaphor for the whole record - a day at the beach sounds refreshing, idyllic, paradisaical, but at the end you're left - sun stricken, faded, nearly crazed.
"Recollections" features some tasty lead guitar, over a quick disco-like beat that has real hit potential, with its Disney-like cooing wordless vocals. Light Years rounds out with "Nothing Else", the most subdued and reminiscent track on here, although still upbeat and driving forward. "Nothing Else" is the sound of driving home from the beach, with the giant orange sunset fading in the rearview.
Light Years is so short, it's like a sun fever dream that's over almost before you can register that it's begun. You return, immediately, to the beginning, to double check and see what happened. Blending garage, twangy surf rock, and dream pop is not entirely a revolutionary concept, but it doesn't need to be. Calm down, it's only music! Drop a track or two, particularly "Sunburn" or "Nothing Else" on your summer sunset mixtape, and wait for Aüva's full-length, which is due out later this year.
Sparkling, sublime stuff.
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