18 Sep 2019

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Namesake - EP Review: 4 Songs

09 Jan 2019 // A review by Steve Shyu

A band named Namesake. An EP simply titled 4 Songs. How impressively straightforward yet mysterious. And judging by the band’s Facebook page, there’s not much more info about Namesake other than that they’re comprised of three ladies who seem to like the outdoors and glasshouses.

With just about no context of what this group is about, one could only guess what the trio’s debut release would sound like.

Unlike most album openers, this EP starts with a lullaby-like little number titled Sleep Well, made up with a few simple keyboard chords, and a jingling arpeggio highlighting the tune, with a soothing female voice singing in hushed tones.

Without any fuss, the ninety-second intro lead straight into Better, another equally calming piece. This time, the keyboard and vocals are accompanied with guitar notes strummed with haunting cadences, and very light rhythms tapped on a snare and a bass drum. The sounds are stripped-back, as though it was performed live in someone’s parents’ living room, which also should make for great tunes on a hazy Sunday morning.

The lyrics appear to tell of an awkward car ride the writer undertook, explaining woefully “I don’t wanna drive anymore” at the end of the choruses. Fair enough – Who hasn’t been in an uncomfortable car trip before and just wanted out?

Kowhai, the third tune, begins with a light bassline, then features a reappearance of the shimmering guitar chords, and the lead vocals cooing gently in the mix. The atmosphere of a stripped-down, lounge-y jam session continues with this song, but gradually crescendos at the bridge with the guitar strums boldening and the singing voice reaching new highs.

The final song Lavender is the brooding-sounding one. In the same manner as the previous tracks, layers of guitars, keyboards, snare drums and soft vocals are gently introduced and tension swells toward the end. Only this time, as the song comes to its end, a tantrum of guitars and drums pound out a dramatic final few bars. Surely the increased pace and tone from the EP’s start to finish was intended?

The placeholder release title, the ambiguousness of the album artwork and the no-fixed-genre tones of the songs does make me wonder if I’ve missed something. Production is simplistic, and even the vocal melodies are relatively subdued. Among many releases of recent years, perhaps the sole intention of these four tracks is to lay everything as bare as musically possible, to make everything unconventionally minimalistic; no frills, literally just four songs.

For someone who’s used to more boisterous music, this certainly made me reflect on how I interpret what I hear.

If a soundtrack to daydream to on a Sunday morning is what you’re after, then be sure to stop by this one.

Rating: ( 3 / 5 )

About Namesake

Low-fi pop for the car stereo with the windows down, namesake are an emo-pop trio from Wellington, New Zealand.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Namesake


4 Songs
Year: 2018
Type: EP

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