The end of summer is often a collection of hazy nostalgia. Memories wrapped in humidity. A mix-tape of casual late nights. Polaroids and road trips, crowded bars and desolate beaches: we carry all of this with us into the next season.
And if we’re lucky, we’ll tuck a song or two from these hot months into our corners. If we’re lucky, we’ll have a small collection of sounds that remind us of mosquito evenings or easy days — or at least, easier days — and if we’re lucky, we’ll revisit these songs later and smile. And perhaps, in a collective stroke of luck, Your Smith’s latest EP, “Bad Habit,” promises us just that.
A sonic snapshot of summer, “Bad Habit” is a four song indie-pop collection that moves beyond the implications of both “indie” and “pop.”
Opening with the title track, “Bad Habit,” the song, plays like a hazy summer dream. Smith’s vocals, which sit somewhere just north of a whisper, casually bob along a dreamy current of retro-tinted keys and gentle snare. With strategically placed backing vocals that only add to Smith’s hushed voice, the song flows along like a lazy river, by which, I mean: I could float along it for hours.
Previously released in late-July as the second single from Smith’s forthcoming EP, “Bad Habit,” the song, is rich in vintage heatwave heartbreak vibes — “I got a bad habit / but loving you / is the worst one” — that almost demands, with a casual urgency, that you sway along. But, the synth, sun-kissed tune reaches beyond its own sonic landscape.
“This is a big one for me guys. I wrote this song after I gave up trying to write the pop music I thought everyone wanted from me. This was my white flag; my surrender to being the only me I know how to be,” she wrote in a post on Instagram.
It only makes sense, then, that the LA-based — but Minnesota darling — singer-songwriter open her debut EP under the name Your Smith with such a strong statement of self. And the EP doesn’t relent in its unfettered freedom from there, either.
Unencumbered by the pressure to be something it was never meant to be, Smith’s EP glides along so smoothly a simile comparing it to a spoonful of honey or a good whiskey is just too easy, though groove-infused tunes like “The Spot” and “Debbie” certainly satisfy like a glass of the latter. Both tracks brim with infectious pop sensibilities — those choruses that just demand that you sing along — and rich bass lines, savory percussion and satisfying layers of vocals.
Cool and polished, “The Spot” and “Debbie” perfectly navigate from the dreamy “Bad Habit,” the song, to the low-key, but smoldering, closing track.
Equal parts moody and sexy, “Ooo Wee” is a summertime romance fever dream. Pulsating with longing, but swaying with confident desire within the same breath, Smith’s vocals blend with a musical current that simply purrs. Pillow talk set to music, bedroom eyes on .35mm film personified — take your pick of metaphor — but “Ooo Wee” is, simply put, a big mood.
“Bad Habit,” Smith’s first EP released under the moniker Your Smith — previously Caroline Smith — is sonically generous, capturing the listener’s ear with such deeply rich and satisfying songs. But, it also manages to capture the imagination, inviting the listener to picture their life in grainy, film footage. Driving up the coast of California, laughing in the diffused lighting of a hot, July house party, “Bad Habit” creates a world in which these snapshots are easily imagined — or remembered — and then set to music.
And sure, life isn’t an indie movie. We don’t live in a reality backed by a soundtrack. Seasons come and go without songs announcing their arrival and departure. But if it were, and if we did, and if seasons — and all their encompassing memories — could be captured in a sonic snapshot, Your Smith’s EP could score it all, quite effortlessly.
Ashley Cline is an avid introvert and full-time carbon based life form currently living in south Jersey. Since graduating from Rowan University with her Bachelor's in Journalism, she can usually be found singing show tunes to her dog, drinking too much iced coffee and wearing beanies. Her personal best at all-you-can-eat sushi is five rolls in eleven minutes. You can find her yelling about Carly Rae Jepsen on Twitter and posting photos of her dog on Instagram.