ALBUM: It Looks Sad EP
ARTIST: It Looks Sad.
Tiny Engines, North Carolina label home of Hotelier and Little Big League, inaugurates Charlotte’s It Looks Sad.’s debut with a breezy four-track self-titled EP. ILS is happy to brand itself as heirs to Surfer Blood, but while these songs appear as shimmery torsion springs, the pop possesses an off-key kilter and broodiness that betrays the comparison. The songs’ front halves are constructed with spare intros that evolve into reverberating verses, jittery bridges, and fleet choruses. Tracks two and three feature middle eights with DIIV-like tremolo tendrils while tracks one and four opt for up-tempo rushes of sentimentality.
The most promising element of this debut is the synergistic riff composition, which contrasts with oft-unhinged vocalist Jimmy Turner. While the coastal beach pop ambience is familiar terrain, Turner’s fluctuations of mood—per track: 1) morbid and sentimental; 2) sexy and sacrificial; 3) existential and terrified; 4) abandoned and sentimental—are all tinged with romantic abandon that prompts listeners to brace themselves.
Turner’s quietude can have a dimming effect on the guitars’ consciousness, but drummer Garrett Herzfeld (and Vince D’Ambrosio on “Raccoon”) trawl over stretches of silence as melody reposes before high-energy spans at the buzzer.
It’s hard to believe that It Looks Sad.’s sullen declarative name was shortened from an even more wonky: ‘It Looks Sad, That’s Why I Said It’s You.’ Then again, the consistently melodramatic lyrical offerings from this album (“you cut me up inside” or “I am your ocean”) leave one finger-crossed for future aims at refinement by the time Tiny Engine’s coaxes out ILS’s debut LP.
“We both are Florida born. I don’t know if it’s just chemicals, but the water never left my soul. I still hear it when I’m all alone. I’m alone.”