Eternal Summers Correct Behaviour(Kanine Records) Buy it from Insound
All that was interesting about Eternal Summers’ debut Silver was actually all that was holding them back. Their lo-fi, minimalist, post-punk, semi-anthemic record, although reasonably refreshing, never quite managed to attack at the jugular. There was never an emotional branch to wholeheartedly attach yourself to, it was much too introverted for that. There was a dream-pop element to each post-punk desire and as a result that album collects a hazy stupor evident on tracks like Dye, Disciplinarian and Pogo. Basically, Silver lacked confidence and conviction where it was essential, all of this I say with wonderful hindsight having heard their follow-up Correct Behaviour.
I suspect lead singer and guitarist Nicole Yun had a kind of epiphany of sorts, a great realisation of profundity or someone really pissed her off. From the first dreamy notes of Millions you are aware of a distinct shift in attitude from their debut: ‘I’ve got to shake this shell and break it into millions,’ suggests connotations of freeing herself from self-inflicted restrictions or much wider ones, either way, Yun reveals something. That’s followed with an invigorating power-chord progression of Wonder where the introduction of bass allows Yun to experiment with grandiose counter-lead interpositions whilst retaining the soul of the track. Add to that more revelationary lyrics: ‘What do you do when you don’t belong?/What do you say when you’re always wrong?’ You really begin to believe in their ideas that not only emanate lyrically but more radically through the density of their sound.
Even on tracks where the mood is decidedly light-hearted(You Kill, I Love You) it’s conveyed with irrepressibly more energy and vigour than their first LP. There is almost a sense of resurrection-like freedom throughout and whether that be at either end of their spectrum, at least they have greater diversity and have dared to have such a thing. There was a temptation to call the songs aggressive but I guess what I mean is that they are blunt, honest and painfully interpreted in a way which leaves you in no doubt of the emotional content. This in many ways is their greatest achievement with this record, to open themselves and be vulnerable in a way that is grossly eccentric.
Without ever really doing so in previous efforts almost all of the tracks on Correct Behaviour are decidedly astute in their conception. It’s Easy allows you a moment of reflection within it’s slow-ballad strumming and further confirms their maturity as songwriters - ten bloody-nosed post-punk assaults wouldn’t really sound genuine or even human. Ultimately they have become more focussed, less ambiguous and driven by intense experience which they convey with an admirable amount of flesh on display. It shouldn’t ever be a stadium-rock sound that Eternal Summers tend towards but this record shows that they can expand without sacrificing their elemental principals. As a sonic experience it’s more diverse than they have ever been; lyrically, it is littered with philosophic considerations that any listener could relate to and there are emotions raw and tender which take the hazy stupor of their previous record and decimate it.
There may have been a thought that by adding musicians to this band Yun’s vocal would have become shrouded and nonsensical but the truth is it was just the infusion that she and they needed. She just sings louder and with absolute belief in every word, something which is undeniably affecting to the very end. If you were left drifting by their debut Silver you can think of all of the things that you wished that album was and find it here. It’s as remarkable a step forward as you could imagine and one that will remain in your consciousness indefinitely.