Sound track: “Sunday Best” by Fashion Bath

From the knuckle-pop percussion and the fuzzed-out opening lyrics of “The Kids,” Fashion Bath‘s newest release, Sunday Best is full of intrigue, dark shimmer and reticent importance.

The EP is a mix of astute alt-pop (like “The Kids,” with its almost-slowdance beat and buzzy, heady melody) and explosive, driving noise-rockers (like “Funny Feeling,” with its pummeling guitars, crashing cymbals and hyped-up vocal delivery). Fashion Bath is the collaboration of Kevin Boggs and Max Murray who share credits on all songs.

It’s hard to pick just one stand-out track, but “The Kids” is certainly well-placed in the lead spot. Both kinetic and dreamy, it says a lot about the band’s style. It’s lush, layered and moves through fervent temperaments before its dissonant culmination.

“Big Blue” returns to the aesthetic of the initial track. With a tender, slow build, the song is heart-on-sleeve without being overwrought or cloying. It’s dusky and laid-back — a last spin around the dance floor after the party has ended and the house lights turned up.

“Newport” is heavier, stalking and surging, and probably very loud at a live show. Even with the volume turned down, this song reverberates with menace but also with meaning. “Youth is something I use terribly,” is one sharp line. And the harmony vocals rising and falling back into the melee elevate the song’s artistry while holding the pop aesthetic at arm’s length. And still the hook — “Write me a postcard, wherever you are, and sign it ‘forgetful’ and drink alone at the bar” — feels almost familiar as it dissolves lusciously into distortion. It’s a fully-realized track.

The EP wraps with “FMD,” whose soft and searching first notes lead into an opiate waltz. Drowsy, aching and irascibly pretty, the song feels much shorter than four minutes. It’s the perfect twilit ending to this roller coaster of emotional states and sonic shades. But even with the many moods represented on the album, there’s still a cohesion throughout. As supple as it is cutting and as thoughtful as it is dynamic, Sunday Best deserves repeat listens.

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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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