The Edisons emerged last year with their stunning debut, Space Whales. Quick on the heels of that comes their Summer Camp EP. In keeping with the mood of many records released this summer, it’s steeped in a bit of darkness. The opener of “Life in Limbo” gives you the vibe from the get-go: this is going to be a collection of indie rock that will never once allow you to get too comfortable with it. The Edisons explore more of an edge here, feeling out their sound and creating songs that feel more visceral.
“Bad Acid” follows with a vocal that becomes the main attraction for its restrained desperation. The sheer heaviness of the guitar at the start gives a good indication that “Dancing with the Sharks” is going to be nightmare material. Think early, early Flaming Lips and Dinosaur, Jr. go to buy a keyboard at a shop run by the Hold Steady. “Reptile Blood in Neon Lights” is another shade of darkness, in a completely different way. It reminds me of slowcore at the start, but Caleb Followill’s singing insists on bringing this into the light explosively halfway in.
Shifting gears into a comparatively pop sound, “Shiver” is wonderful and an easy single if they want it. It’s not necessarily the flagship of their sound and is unlike anything else on this record. “Grin Reaper” finishes the EP with a touch of cacophonic madness before resting into a more melodic maelstrom. Vocals rage, guitars create textural tapestries, and the song leaves you wanting even more from this powerful act emerging out of Phoenix. The talent is obvious, but so too is the attention paid to constructing every nuance of this record.