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Art is something fickle; this we know to be true through such endless and differing patterns in trend and the cyclical fading and resurgence of styles and genres, especially in music. In keeping with the unpredictability of musical change, alternative rock is beginning to make waves the size of which haven’t been seen since its golden age in the 90s. Many bands today seek to build on the genre, many seek to relive its past magnificence and few manage to strike the golden balance in between. Enter Summer Flake.
Stephanie Crase gorgeously manifests lashings of the personal into a golden blend of 90s rock nostalgia and modern innovation on Time Rolls By
Adelaide born Melbourne-dweller Stephanie Crase has been creating under this moniker since 2012 and has been prolific in her releases, recording two EP’s, a full-length album and a sprinkling of singles. In past Summer Flake releases, Crase wears her 90s alt rock influence on her sleeve and produces dark magic with limited means. Listeners immersed in the personal, dark lyricism that Crase produces so beautifully may have also been hoping for just that hint of innovation, a modern twist.
Summer Flake’s new release, Time Rolls By delivers this in spades. Years of relentless recording and performing have undoubtedly paid off for Crase and seem to have allowed her to hone her songwriting down to a fine art. Opening track, Number One is a cheeky ode to loneliness and isolation caused by what seems to be Crase’s unlikable nature (we’ve all been there). Sugar-coated harmonies intertwined with raunchy distorted guitars is a recurring theme in Time Rolls By and is at its best in Number One.
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Production value here is one of the factors adding a modern edge to the proceedings with lashings of reverb and just enough lo-fi-ness to appeal to a [tasteful] young listener. Throughout the EP, Crase shows off some almost Jimmy Page-esque guitar arrangements and some nice chops to boot. Standout track, Blur Me Out delivers this in copious amounts. The depressive 6/8 is reminiscent of 90s Radiohead and soon develops, helped by a time change, into another relatable lyric in the repetitive “Blur me out / To the back of the painting”. Crase draws beautifully on the difficulty of social anxiety and introverted thoughts in large crowds. The false ending in the middle of this tune is a stroke of genius on the song-writing front and introduces even more urgent and lilting guitar riffs and even deeper shades of dark blue in the piece.
Picking up the pace midway through the EP is the ironically chirpy Makes Me Wanna Die; a sweet chugging train at first listen but with a harsher message at its core. In keeping with the theme of introspection and mixed emotion, we are bestowed with another highlight of the EP, Sun Won’t Shine. A bass line reminiscent of the ear worm that was Kings Of Leon’s On Call lays a crunchy bed for Crase’s signature sweet vocal, complete with just a slight Aussie drawl, intermingling with some beautiful stacked harmonies. Fuzzed out guitars make Sun Won’t Shine one of the EP’s harder tracks; listeners are welcomed kicking and screaming into the noisy climax of this paradoxical tune with guitar feedback and chaos, we feel an inherently human side in Crase’s arranging.
The EP closes out with a rather unconventional cover choice. Some Things Just Stick in Your Mind is a little-known ditty written in the 60s by none other than Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The first rendition was recorded by Dick and Deedee and featured Jimmy Page on the guitar; perhaps the notes of Page in the guitar arrangements were not far off! Crase does a fuzzy number on this track and provides a whole new perspective on the meaning of the song with a slower tempo and a droning chorus.
Time Rolls By is Summer Flake’s finest release to date and shows a songwriter with a clear direction and something important to say. Crase displays a real maturity in her instrumental abilities and arrangements and finally achieves a fully realised sense of self in her now slightly more unique and distinctive sound. Time Rolls By is an almost perfect mixture of 90s nostalgia, intelligent production and deeply personal lyrics that are a generous insight into Crase’s world.
Time Rolls By is out on October 9th via Rice Is Nice.