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Album Review: Summer Hours - Alone Together

Listening to ‘Alone Together’ pulls you back into an all-American time and place where life revolves around beaches and basements, and it is still acceptable to use words like “vibe”. In the case of Summer Hours, the “vibe” of this release really does echo their name. With a warm, lazy sound similar to bands such as Pavement and Yo La Tengo, Summer Hours provide a soothing collection of tracks to put your feet up to.

This first full-length release from the Brooklyn-based quartet is a burst of bright and refreshing indie pop which feels both effortless and energetic. Singer and bassist Rachel Dannefer’s airy vocals are comparable to those of Mates of State or Lemuria; carrying heartfelt lyrics in a gentle, sweeping manner. In that sense the lyrics are the sentimental axis that the music revolves around, particularly with ‘Sad Song’ and ‘Old Boyfriend’; you can almost hear the sound of rushing waves in the sun-kissed melodies and the clean, choppy guitar riffs, but when you get to the heart of the carefully layered songs, the emotion is not quite as carefree as its delivery.

The diary-like nature of the lyrics leads the songs into honest and intimate territory, and with this territory there will always be a prominent sense of sadness or nostalgia. What is so captivating about Summer Hours is, despite dealing with topics such as death, break-ups and loneliness, the songs have an uplifting innocence which pulls them out of the shade and into a dreamy collage of summer memories.

Having delivered the whole album in a decidedly gentle way, there are moments where it can feel quite bland, like there is some spark which hasn’t been ignited. However, with Summer Hours it seems to be a case of unrealised potential as opposed to a lack of potential. The stand out tracks such as ‘Alone, Alone, Alone Together’,

‘California’, and ‘Do Right’ are incredibly well crafted in their simplicity and can only promise good things for future releases.

‘Alone Together’ is much like a best friend in some ways; you can go to it when you’re feeling happy or need cheering up, but in it you can also find an emotional touchstone. With that in mind, the title comes to stand as more than just an overused oxymoron. The more you listen to ‘Alone Together’, the more you find in it, and the more you realise just how much thought and heart has been poured in. Summer Hours intertwine sadness and hope with a sincerity that is impossible to be affected by, and whether you’re alone in the garden idly waving away flies or laughing in a circle of friends, ‘Alone Together’ is the ideal soundtrack.


'Alone Together' by Summer Hours is available now on Deep Elm Records.

Summer Hours on Facebook and MySpace.

Emma Garland

Alter The Press!