Eternal Summers “Gold and Stone” Offers Great Guitar Rock

24 Sep

Eternal Summers came of age in Roanoke, Virginia in 2009/2010, at a time when retro-surf music was all the rage. The duo (soon to become a trio), which early on toured with bands such as Best Coast, was a perfect fit — able to crank out heavily reverbed, guitar-driven beach music.

But even then — led by singer/songwriter Nicole Yun — the band had more of an aggressive, punk edge to its sound. And it has been this ability to not allow a niche such as surf music to define them that has enabled Eternal Summers to grow and mature.

If the band has been anything, it’s been prolific. Following its debut album, Silver, in 2010, Eternal Summers added two more albums in 2012 and 2014 before its current release, Gold and Stone. The band’s evolution has seen it embrace a variety of musical styles including jangle-rock, power-pop, dream-pop, and garage-rock — in addition to holding fast to its punky roots. And while many other bands that got their start in surf rock have fallen on hard times, Eternal Summers has prospered (in an indie way — meaning critical acclaim, not necessarily monetary rewards).

  • Rolling Stone named the band one of its “10 New Artists You Need to Know” in May
  • In a review that awarded Gold and Stone an impressive 7.3 rating, Pitchfork says, “Eternal Summers have proven more adaptive than many of the bands they came up with…Gold and Stone…is the latest testament to their ever-broadening range.”
  • AllMusic calls Eternal Summers “a band (that) is quickly building up an impressive body of work.”

First single, “Together or Alone,” is a driving power-pop anthem with ringing guitars. Yun’s vocals start way down in the mix, allowing her guitar work to hold the spotlight for most of the track — with some lyrics shouted or snarled in the chorus.

Title track, “Gold and Stone,” might be my favorite cut. It’s an up-tempo, jangle-rock tune, with a thumping drum track, pulsing bass line, and cool harmonies backing Yun’s dreamy vocals.

Track 5, “Black Diamond,” finds the band heading back to its punk roots. Vocals are snarled with attitude. Yun cynically asserts, “If you want, I could be strung up in pearls for you/If you want, I could wear your black diamond.” Reverbed guitars and a really tight drum track propel the song forward.

Fuzz-rock? Yes, the band can handle that, as it ably demonstrates on “Play Dead.”

Is this another one of those bands with only one lead singer? While Yun does sing almost all the leads, “Ebb Tide” finds drummer Daniel Cundiff taking the lead vocal duties on a jangly number that would do Real Estate proud.

The second-to-the-last track, “Stars You Named,” is a beautiful slow-burn, dream-pop ballad that shows off Yun’s vocal range and is marked by incredible guitar work in the lead breaks.

Gold and Stone represents yet another great opportunity to discover an outstanding band before the rest of the world does.

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