In 2018, The Kelseys released their debut EP, Summer Light, which contains upbeat and danceable songs, perfect for improving your day. It has influences from Walk the Moon, Vampire Weekend, and Young the Giant, so if you like their music, this EP is for you. Since this is The Kelsey’s debut EP, it mimicked the sounds and feelings of their previous singles such as Head Over Heels and Beyond Repair. Listening to the EP feels like I’m walking in the glistening woods on a sunny afternoon, while the sounds provide an uplifting aura. This feeling stays consistent throughout Summer Light, and The Kelseys do a very good job of emulating that feeling into their synths and bubbly sound.
The EP starts off with the cheery sounding song, Pollyanna. The first verse talks about a woman hiding her feelings of sadness from the world, and putting on an optimistic face. However, the pre-chorus and chorus displays her overcoming those feelings, revealing that things will get better. The sounds from this song are like a sunny day in spring when the leaves have grown back and flowers are blooming, but the air is still a little cool and crisp from the remains of winter. This mirrors the lyrics because the remains of winter in the spring turn into the beautiful days of summer. Just like the weather, things get better for us too.
The second track on the EP, Ivory, sticks with the same high energy as Pollyanna but contains more raw instrumentation in comparison to Pollyanna’s softer, pop sound. There’s multiple moments where they focus on just the guitar, along with some very light vocals. This claustrophobic feeling is like being completely surrounded by massive structures, as if you’re small or insignificant. The lyrics add to this since Peter Kwitny, the lead vocalist, is singing about being afraid of the unknown and how it “holds all the things that I hate the most.” It ends on the strong and loud guitar and drum sounds from the beginning, creating a layered, comforting noise.
“Half Right” abandons the rock elements of “Ivory” and transitions into a more pop sound. This track signals a return to the pop elements seen in Pollyanna. It starts off with a bubbly sound, and consists of soft notes throughout the song, while still mixing in the danceability aspects of the rest of Summer Light. This song’s atmosphere is like being in a car surrounded by greenery, looking out the window and seeing pockets of sunlight shine through the trees and leaves. The lyrics discuss moving on from a heartbreak, questioning the former relationship and focusing on how it changed the song’s singer. Pairing the lyrics with optimistic sounds provides the listener a sense of hopefulness and validity.
The EP’s last song, “Forester Drive,” is a song you can blast with your friends during a sunset while you anticipate the fun plans ahead for the night. It’s very high energy and is the most danceable and singable track on the EP. You could dance and sing along to this with the people you love. The lyrics talk about enjoying the moment that you are in, going with the flow, and just having fun. Forester Drive is about accepting the idea that was introduced in Pollyanna, the idea of just letting it go and not worrying. It is a great conclusion to Summer Light with loud and energetic sounds at the end, leaving you out of breath and full of adrenaline.
Overall, listening to Summer Light provides feelings of happiness and joy. It will make listeners want to get up and dance and absorb the energy that this EP puts into you. The Summer Light EP sets a foundation for their future songs. It has been two years since the release of Summer Light and The Kelseys continue to make music and experiment with different sounds. While their newer songs explore different themes and genres, Summer Light is a great introduction to the band and is a great listen that can brighten your mood no matter what you’re doing.
Favorite Songs: “Pollyanna,” “Forester Drive”
Article By: Nida Ansari