Released June 12, 2015

by Fiona Roome

SIMCOE's debut EP has summer seeping out of its pores. With its ghostly vocals, its ambient quality, and upbeat yet whimsical rhythm, this is the perfect trio of songs to plug into your portable speakers at the lake, your group campsite, or beside your backyard hammock. This EP would also be an excellent road trip companion.

SIMCOE hails from Toronto and consists of five talented members: Bobby Houston, Mike Barford, Jake Gehlen, Julian Hoyle, and Mike Strizic. SIMCOE EP, their self-titled debut album, was released on June 12, 2015.

It begins with an acoustic guitar riff that's reminiscent of a west coast breeze blowing off the Pacific on a hot day. From there, it hits all the essentials for current Indie Pop/Indie Rock singles: High-tempo treble guitar, simple yet effective piano chimes, at least one bridge consisting mainly of “ooh-oh-ohs,” and “anthemic hooks,” as It's All Indie puts it. The EP is short and sweet. All three tracks stick to a similar sound, which means they flow together quite nicely: each song melts into the last.

As one would hope for a cluster of Indie tracks, SIMCOE EP employs a great balance of lyrical repetition and complexity. They know when to emphasize a line. Their poetic proficiency couples well with their strong vocals.

It's All Indie and Liquid Radio Berlin singled out Closer as the representative SIMCOE track, however, Afterglow in particular struck me as a song which could stand on its own as a single. Besides being all an all-around catchy tune, it's a strong song technically. The musical themes of the verses are maintained in the chorus, despite the fact that the tempo increases and the vocals take on added passion and complexity, as well as a higher range. The track employs a discrete use of rhythmic piano (a touch I always appreciate when paired with a good guitar riff) which lends to the overall dreamlike quality of the song, and really ties the track together.

All in all, this is a great EP to explore as we're heading into July. Flick on the pocket speakers, plug in SIMCOE's self-titled EP, and let the whimsy of summer begin!