After spending three years writing, rewriting and recording a sophomore album, New York indie pop-rockers Here’s To You returned February 15 with their first release since 2015 and the first EP in a series of three that will eventually make up the band’s second record. This first installation, titled Wonder/Wander: Phase I, is a four-song foray into the world of love in a modern, digital age, and each track is catchier than the next.
On this EP, it is clear that Here’s To You spent every minute of those three years working on these tracks with meticulous attention to detail. Each individual riff, rhythm and verse fits perfectly into the framework of the four catchy pop-rock songs, and the production feels smooth and polished.
The music is expressive, too; it can be difficult to write a pop song that is both engaging and expressive while not feeling cheesy, but the music in these tracks reflects their lyrical content well. On the third track, “An Alliance”, relationship turmoil is depicted through the tension of percussive guitar strumming and frontman Charlie Giovanniello’s angry lyrics (“I’m fighting not to fold under pressure/From holding you up/When all you ever do is make me wanna erupt”). And the EP’s closer, “Don’t Remember Me” feels hollow in its heartbreak, using a relatively simple piano melody to convey the somber mood of a broken relationship as it backs up Giovanniello’s desolate crooning.
Other than those two, the music feels bright and fun. It’s upbeat, and the band’s enthusiasm for music is apparent after only a few seconds of high-energy riffs on “Drive”, the EP’s first song and a sun-soaked, dance-inducing track that seems as if it would be fitting for a summer day, perhaps driving down a coast. “Burning Alive” is equally balmy and epitomizes the band’s work well; this time, that warmth comes from a shimmering synth lick and Giovanniello singing, “We’re cool as the night/But we’re burning alive on the inside.”
This EP is the first in a three-part series of releases that will eventually make up the band’s sophomore record, Wonder/Wander, so be sure to follow the band’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay up-to-date on the other two EPs, which will be released later this year. In the meantime, check out Wonder/Wander: Phase I below.