Replete as I am off a most-thoughtfully prepared vegetarian lasagna-turned-Thanksgiving dinner, I wasn’t entirely sure how an album named Summer EP would fit in with my current stasis. But the five-song EP—recorded this past summer off a battery-powered laptop in Northern Ontario—lives up to its ethereal sales pitch.
It’s a dreamy, chant-filled compilation from Montreal’s Eva Louise Goodman, whose previous album, L’Age D’Or, was released by local Jeunesse Cosmique. This time around she’s opted to go solo, channeling the isolation of a cabin in the woods into haunting loops and ambient reverie.
There’s an unexpected blend of soothing, hypnotic build-up alternating with powerful, masculine chanting—crossing a threshold between a predictable alt folk soundscape and a very traditional gothic. The aptly named “Back & Forth” is the first signal of this exchange, swapping gentle strummings and distant, drifting vocals for the ancient-sounding echoes.
As the vocals build and boom, Goodman weaves in the shrill pull of the strings, and emphasizes the acoustic guitar that seems to stand as the backbone of most of her tracks. “Back and forth/we will sway back and forth,” the disconnected voice sings out as the song rocks you along, amping up and then settling down in its own rhythmic wave.
It’s either a perfect coincidence or an acknowledgment of the distance between the songs that “Back & Forth” is squeezed between “July” and “Siberia,” moving from the restless, open increase of the first track to the steady drifting of the EP’s colder touches. Goodman’s voice soars before leaving the whispers of those powerful notes to trickle out with the atmospheric, sleepy chords dwindling into silence.
The ominous chanting returns yet again for “O What a Misery!” shattering the fantastical peace of withdrawing with a sense of forboding, teeing the EP up for “Farewell Song” as Goodman’s soft voice whistles along with “O what a misery/sensations” on endless repeat.
Summer EP seems to have set out to defy its name, finding more in common with my current feelings about the cold, transitioning woods. It’s isolation, introspection and a lulling drifting that suggests both a warning and a temptation. Lying back and allowing myself to be drawn in, I’m ready to heed the latter.
Top Tracks: “July”; “Farewell Song”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)