This Big Life slides into a moderately paced groove within the first seconds of “Dinner Song,” the first track on Both Sides Surrender, the first EP from the band. The delicate vocals of the female lead singer ease into the mix and gently carry the melody of the song among a blend of shifting bass riffs, throbbing percussion, a droning musette/accordion sound and light strumming. The song takes an unexpected turn when a male vocalist adds rapping and rhythmic singing, contrasting greatly with the soft female vocals featured in the rest of the song.
The EP continues its unrushed, relaxed pace with “Run in Circles” a similarly instrumented tune exhibiting multiple vocal harmonies and layered riffs that build upon each other as the song continues. This bouncy song is lyrically driven and its down-to-earth feel helps it to connect with listeners on a relational level.
The title track of the EP “Both Sides Surrender” is a simple, soft ballad revolving around dueling mandolins providing accompaniment to sweet, lush vocals. The track slowly strengthens amidst sounds of thunder, rain and strings, finally giving way to a full band sound at the end of the track. The smooth melodies, skillful instrumentation and wide range of emotion and dynamics make this song one of the best, if not the best, on the EP.
The lilting female vocals prominent in the first three songs of the EP are superseded in “Carry Me” by cavernously deep male vocals. The record takes on a relatively darker tone in this song, but as the gravelly vocals are joined by the return of the velvety female vocals from before, the song transitions into a beautifully hopeful anthem with just enough tinge of a shadow at the edge of the soundscape.
The narrative of this EP follows a satisfying plot - each song feels like a raw idea that has been developed over time, without losing the unprocessed, natural vibes of the original concept. This, combined with the immense talent and variety in each in every track on the record, make Both Sides Surrender well worth many listens by listeners of all musical tastes.
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