Drawing on similar soundscapes to their eponymous 2016 debut, the Summer Came Early EP from Exploded View showcases a heady concoction of heterogeneous influences and the unique instrument that is the voice of Annika Henderson. After its dizzying pitch drop intro the title track settles into a reassuringly harmonically resolved sixties reverb guitar figure over insistent tambourine, snare and bass-drum like some Mirror Universe Motown. Lyrically it’s a retrospective ecological disaster story “the summer sun came early that year” delivered in an innocent, offhand style. The drifting nature of the vocal over the repetitive but shifting rhythm pattern and the swaying, lilting mellotron lulls the ear into almost not perceiving the lyric’s sucker punch indictment of privilege and the ease of inaction, “and then the rain came… and then the birds fell and then the deserts dried and … We all found someone to blame”.
‘Forever Free’ floats from the speakers on a bed of Steve Reich-alike beats and a motorik dub high bass melody. It’s short, sharply bitter sweet and carried through its dreamy stratosphere by more mellotron and vocal lines which evoke an Ian Curtis in excelsis before, at the end of each verse, they are pitch shifted and oscillated until they melt into the track like an aural Dali-clock. “She was wiser than they gave her credit to be”. Indeed.
The penultimate ‘Mirror of the Madman’ is darker – blending bass ostinato, echoing ride cymbal and punctuating tom fills with a haunted vocal – “I saw a shadow, I felt the breath… my hair stood on end” – like Grace Slick being chased through a Silver Apples track by an axe-wielding Relics-era Roger Waters.
The EP closes with the twisting, distorted single string guitar lines and ADT vocals of ‘You Got a Problem Son’. Again grounded by a hypnotically good, and clearly live, drum pattern it is flavoured with three note stabs of (apparently) a detuned four oscillator synth and builds to a rich swirling intensity before fading regally down the reverb tunnel. Sparsely exquisite and bathed in the excitement of its visceral live production the whole EP transmutes its many elements into an effortlessly artful marriage of form and meaning. Splendid.