My goal was to publish this review of “Things That Fly” from Things That Fly on Mother’s day. I mean, this duo is made up of two middle-aged moms which would have made it perfect and catchy but, as usual, life just got in the way. That being said, I think that we should be celebrating moms every day. I mean, come on, none of us would be here without our moms and I, for one, wouldn’t be the person I am without mine. So timing be damned, let’s jump into this quick EP from the duo that is Karen Salmon and Heidi Serwer.
I feel like it’s mean to say but I was thinking I was going to get something super singer-songwriter feeling from this EP but, as soon as the album kicked off with “Lucky Ones”, I realized how I wrong I was. A garage-rock feeling instrumentation and more bubblegum pop leaning vocals took over my house with this first track in a perfect way. This opening track absolutely catches you with the sweetness yet undeniable power that comes with Things That Fly. A bridge about half way through the track brings a sense of whimsy and innocence before the song breaks into a punk-inspired moment that I found completely addicting.
“Nothing in the Middle” was instantly a favorite song of mine. The song starts with a more retro feeling style before situating into Things That Fly’s distinct vibe. This song brings a more psychedelic vibe to the duo’s sound that, although surprising and not quite my typical thing, fits so well for them. I love playful whimsy in this track. It’s a bit of a nod to that whimsy I felt in the opening track but the duo expands that feeling to create a super carefree track that is more than worth your attention.
Third on this EP is “Crunch Went the Snow” which seems to focus a bit more on the heartfelt lyrics that this band has. It’s not that the lyrics or vocals in the first two songs aren’t super emotive, because they are, but they just feel a bit more prominent in this song. Maybe this is due to the slight feeling of darkness and depth that comes with the vocals and instrumentation alike in this song. Regardless, I loved how moody this track felt without the duo changing much if anything about their sound. It just goes to show the versatility of Things That Fly and how much can be done with just two people.
The playfulness that Things That Fly comes back to the forefront in “Early Riser”. The beat is infectious to say the least but that more psychedelic vibe that was heard loud and clear in “Nothing In The Middle” seems to come back in play making sure to make a point of the fact that “Early Riser” is so much more than just a pop song. There’s nothing super complicated in this track but that’s what makes it so perfect.
The rollercoaster of this self-titled EP continues as the album moves onto “Don’t Count Me Out”. This song mixes the boppiness of “Early Riser” but brings back the depth felt in the vocals during “Crunch Went the Snow”. This makes for an absolutely amazing sense of power and triumphant energy. This song is about the experience of aging and the shifting perceptions that come with it. No, those are not my words but rather words from the press release I got but I feel like the weight of these words and that message can be felt throughout this song if you really listen. If you’d rather just have a lighthearted listen, this song works for that too. That’s the magic of all of these songs. Depending on your mood, they can either hit you in a super serious nature or be more just perfect summer jams to have playing while laying outside in the sun.
I didn’t want this journey to end but at least it ends with the fun that is “Confidence”. Much like “Don’t Count Me Out”, this song carries a sense of triumphant energy and self-empowerment with it. It takes all of the best elements heard throughout the previous tracks and lumps them together to create a song that is part bop, part deep and heartfelt sonnet, part playful piano song, and all heart. Seriously, there are moments that feel more like a kids lullaby than anything else followed by moments that feel worthy of a Sleater-Kinney album. The stark contrast of these styles are a signature of Things That Fly and one of the many reasons that this duo is worth your attention.
I will die on the hill that says that my mom and step-moms are the coolest moms out there but Karen and Heidi are definitely close runners-up after hearing this amazing EP. Even more magical than the music contained in this album is the fact that all of the proceed of this album will benefit Common Pantry- a Chicago non-profit that combats hunger in the northside neighborhood of Chicago. With that in mind, I urge you to buy this album even if it’s not quite your thing or at least consider donating to Common Pantry HERE!
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Check out my playlist with this track and a bunch of other amazing tracks HERE!
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