EP Review: Early Hours – First Light

 

This debut offering has been a long time coming. Formed three years ago, during the final dregs of their high school years, Early Hours have gradually been vamping their sound on an impressively successful small scale until now. Having won Converse’s Get Out of the Garage competition in 2014, as well as landing a number one Spotify single in 2015, the CCapetonianthree-piece’s sounds are far from unfamiliar. The five-track EP, aptly dubbed ‘First Light’ has now solidified the band’s presence in our local scene firmly.

The project itself is a charming, chiming collection of indie-pop anthems, whose electronic edges snag delightfully at the listener with their deft earworm qualities. The EP opens on “Dance Along”, one of their pre-released tracks which has been making its rounds over the last few months. A keyboard progression forms the basis of the song; while Jake Bennett’s clarified vocals, which form the focal point of the EP as a whole, sweep back and forth across their musical canvas. While their sound is hot on the heels of their fellow indie contemporaries such as Al Bairre, slightly weak lyrics leave one wanting just a little more.

“Tidal Pools” pairs pattering percussive effects with heady baselines to produce a stark Britpop sound we’re all too fond of. Deftly crafted to suit both radio play and live performance this track is bred for a good party, as Bennett’s clear vocals croon, “He brings stormy weather and a silver lining.”

Forming a somewhat underwhelming hinge in the middle of the EP comes “Mojito Midnight”, who’s floaty, synth undertow does little more than vaguely pique interest – while “Smells Like Summer” brings back the heat in an instant. Easily the best track on their resume, this lilting, bouncing pop anthem should be familiar to anyone who frequents 5FM’s airwaves. Reeking of romanticised summer months, crystalline waters and scorching sea sand, this is a song you are unlikely to get out of your head for hours. A sultry baseline forms the crux upon which the trip-happy track is built. With heady whiff’s of the early 2000’s pop-rock stylings we all admit to being partial to, the feel-good offering makes for a damn good boogie.

“Into the Wilderness” ties the knot on the EP neatly with a soft, even-keeled synth opening giving way to a marginally slowed down version of their signature energy. Perhaps as close as they’ll come to a crooning ballad, there is just enough oomph present to maintain the vigour they have built. Thematically drawing on the unsettling idea of heading into the unknown, this appears to be an appropriate closing point. As a small band with big dreams, Early Hours has nowhere else to go but up.

8/10

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