When I saw that Summering was playing Regina in our local vintage store/craft brewery/ coffee shop I was a little surprised and certainly intrigued. Playing a not-quite venue like that means someone really likes you and your music and wants you to play. I get that now. After a week with their debut album, if someone else didn’t put that show on, I would have done it.
Summering’s self titled album features 8 tracks and clocks in at over 50 minutes, yielding an impressive average track length healthily above 6 minutes. It’s not modern space jazz long, but each track gets a fair amount of time. They use this time to develop from single note laments to wailing shimmering washes to heavy breakdowns and do it all over again. It’s breathtaking.
In jazz music, the joke is that “it’s about the notes you don’t play.” This idea rings true in a lot of different styles of music more often than not, and Summering knows it. Less is more. The band doesn’t necessarily sound like it has three guitar players if you aren’t listening carefully. I’m not knocking their technical skill, but instead praising their judicious use of texture and tone through parts that weave in and out of each other. At any given time a guitarist might be unobtrusively adding heavenly ambience or firmly chugging lock-step with the drums and bass. When an instrument drops out, you notice. When the band drops out, you care. The guitar solo in “Careful Creator” is a good example. The arresting stop time of LAFK is another. The air placed around melodies allows us to hold them up to the light, like dusting off a diamond from the ground and appraising its worth.
Some of the most memorable melodies are carried by the vocals of Paul Stewart. His singing timbre evokes the delicate mix of power and frailty captured by Thom Yorke, but without the soaring clear falsetto. Instead he sticks to the rich overtones of his head voice. The seemingly contradictory nature of his vocals continues to illustrate the full emotive range of Summering, and a human emotion that I experience all too often but isn’t quite represented all too often in music. It is rumination on melancholy and determination to be a better person. It is acknowledgement of how much you suck and acceptance of your faults. It is Summering.
Oh yah. It’s pretty heavy too.
Come see Summering w/ Nolan Grad & Pulsewidth April 30th at T&A Vinyl and Fashion.