Roanoke, VA’s Eternal Summers return with their fourth album in as many years, The Drop Beneath. After their beginnings as a duo in 2009, Nicole Yun and Daniel Cundiff connected with bassist Jonathan Woods to form a “power trio delue”. The album isn’t much of a departure from the group’s last effort, but it does show an improvement in songwriting.
The album begins with “100”, as 20 seconds of ambient guitar noise lead into an anthemic riff-centric banger. The lyrics are equally uplifting, with Yun’s repeated encouragement: “prove yourself if you want to…it’s as easy as what I say”. Like most of 2012’s Correct Behaviour, this track would fit in on any number of late 80’s indie pop compilation; traces of Pale Saints and The Pastels abound. The lead-off single is “Gouge”, an immediately catchy song, just as indebted to the janglier of the 4AD bands. The upbeat melody in the song is juxtaposed by the lyrics, as Yun chants: “gouge my eyes out, cut tongue from my mouth…can’t break free from feeling”. Her lyrics run deep, and it’s impressive how effortlessly they are hidden under these deceptively cheerful melodies.
In a recent interview for Consequence of Sound, Yun described how many of these songs came as a result of producer Doug Gillard calling a meeting and telling the band he “wasn’t sure there were any pop songs on the album”. Having spent time in both Guided By Voices and Nada Surf, Gillard is no stranger to the writing process, and his influence reaches far beyond the outlines of ‘producer’. Yun goes on to explain how this led her to write “Never Enough”, the album’s lead-off single. Elsewhere, she described how “Until the Day I Have Won” could stem from an obsession with OMD’s “Forever Live and Die”, which is almost the blueprint for 80s pop. Gillard’s fingerprints are all over a these songs, especially in the clarity of the recording and the upbeat nature of most tracks.
The Drop Beneath is another fine effort by Eternal Summers. Aside from a few surprises (i.e. Cundiff’s vocal entry on “Not For This One”), listeners shouldn’t expect any big departures. For indie-pop fans, this is a positive, and Drop Beneath is another fine entry into the canon.