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Album Review: Summer Flake ‘Hello Friends’

Summer Flake

Summer Flake’s second full-length album ‘Hello Friends’ is an exhibition of what the Melbournian indie-rock 3-piece does best: moody guitar pop with a twist. Beneath the sweet, summery surface, the album is full of striking emotional energy and a unique sense of style.

Son of a Gun is the perfect number to kick things off – tentative, hesitant, and packed with subtle harmonies. Unexpected pitch combinations create an unusual, eclectic vibe to match the ’60s surf-rock style in the verses. The electric guitar throughout the song is the icing on the cake, adding an irresistible rock layer to this memorable concoction of classic chords and steady vocals.

The band’s latest single Shoot And Score is a moody dance track with an irresistible rhythm, and a standout winner on the album. Its alluring guitar riffs fill the opening lines with angst and set the stage for Crase’s signature smooth, haunting vocal delivery and the accompanying harmonies that keep the song hanging in a state of tension, never feeling quite finished.

The bass plays a hero roll in summery numbers I’d Ask You Not To Look Away and Make Your Way Back To Me. In both tracks, sudden changes in the melody and syncopated drum rhythms offset Crase’s signature sweet lyrical simplicity. Songs like these prove that her innocent voice was made for singing dreamy harmonies, building edgy chords, and blending perfectly with surf-rock style guitar.

Tumbling Down introduces a loveable, modern, indie-pop feeling to the album. The pulsing guitar gives the song a raw energy and allows the vocals to take centre stage. Crase’s meticulous control over unison and harmony keeps the vocals on the straight and narrow, and a call-and-response vocal style in the final chorus builds up a rolling wave of sound. In short, this is one track that deserves to make the transition from underrated to overplayed.

So Long is like the soundtrack to a relaxing Hawaiian beach holiday. After a slow build up, restrained guitar and subtly intricate drum rhythms take the lead. The song really comes alive about halfway through with a heavier melody and drum rhythms, but Crase never strays from her authentic style, once again delivering an outstandingly clean vocal performance. You’ll want to hang on for the ending, too – the smooth transitions between crunchy minor and satisfying major chords make the final resolution that little bit sweeter.

The album’s second single Wine Won’t Wash Away packs a whole lot of energetic guitar strumming and thrashing drum beats into three and a half minutes, topping it off with vocals sweet and pure enough to leave you with a toothache. If after this one you’re still craving more sugary pop goodness, get your fix from the familiar dreamy harmonies and sweet  syncopated guitar melodies of Satellite. The smallest rhythmic or melodic change is enough to keep this one interesting and still deliver a full dose of Summer Flake’s characteristic charm.

Look How Far We’ve Come is one of the unsung heroes of the album. The song’s nostalgic energy will bring back memories of the last dance at your high school formal. The guitar infuses this slow track with a buzzing, beneath-the-surface energy, while the song’s unexpected chord progressions leave it feeling perfectly off-balance. In a similar style to I’d Ask You Not To Look Away, Crase avoids complicating things with unnecessary words by repeating the same infectious melody until it’s impossible to forget.

‘Hello Friends’ finishes strong with Messa culmination of everything fans have come to expect from this edgy 3-piece. Starting rough and raw like a desert movie scene soundtrack, the song quickly warms into another lovable slow-dance track. Once again, the beautiful contrast of Crase’s delicate, smooth vocals against the guitar will leave your ears ringing with sweetness.

Summer Flake’s second full length album ‘Hello Friends’ is an impressively original release, and if the band’s hardworking frontwoman has anything to do with it, it won’t be their last. ‘Hello Friends’ will be released this Friday 8 April.

Check out our interview with Summer Flake’s leading woman HERE.

Summer Flake ‘Hello Friends’ Tour Dates 

Brisbane Hotel, Hobart
Union Hotel, Sydney
Trainspotters, Brisbane
The Tote, Melbourne
The Eastern, Ballarat
Hotel Metro, Adelaide

HelloFriends album image

Written by Jess Martyn