Eternal Summers

The Drop Beneath

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On their third album, 2014's The Drop Beneath, the Virginia trio Eternal Summers continue to drift further from their roots as a sweet indie pop duo and now sound like a high-powered indie rock machine with their sights set on large venues and radio playlists. Not that there's anything wrong with that when a band can achieve its goals without sacrificing its core competencies. Eternal Summers do not sacrifice anything important on this album. Working with indie rock hero Doug Gillard as producer, the band forgoes the tough, punchy sound of its previous album, Correct Behavior, in favor of something a little slicker and more accessible. In keeping with their choice of producer, Eternal Summers take a tour of many '90s alt-rock styles with stops at the lyrical dreaminess of Bettie Serveert on "A Burial," the romping noise of shoegaze a few times (the rampaging title track, "Never Enough"), something a little dark and Muse-y on "Deep End," and the previously unscaled heights of the super poppy on "Capture," which sounds like Velocity Girl at their happiest. They also drop in a lovely little slice of '80s pop that would have sounded like a dream on a teen movie soundtrack. It all makes for a trip well worth taking, with Nicole Yun's powerful voice serving as a near-perfect guide. She's equally good at belting out the melodies on the big-sounding songs and crooning sweetly on the softer tunes, something that not many singers can do. The other bandmembers prove just as adept at altering their approach to fit the songs, and with Gillard's expert hand at the wheel, the album feels very much like a finished puzzle where each individual piece is as interesting as the finished work. The only misstep the group makes is the overcooked "Until the Day I Have Won," where Yun struggles to fit too many words into a tightly wound melody and the band lets her down with an uninspired performance. She's so great elsewhere that this stumble can be written off as a failed experiment, and it doesn't do much to lessen the positive impact of the remainder of the album. The Drop Beneath is another strong step toward Eternal Summers being a band like Bettie or Velocity Girl, the kind that other bands will look to for inspiration 20 years later.

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