reviewed by Kaitlin Ruether
How do you open yourself up to love? Math Till Sunset’s explores this question in each song of their eponymous EP. Unity traces through the lyrics as though you are listening to a series of poems, accompanied, of course, by the softness of acoustic riffs. This EP offers a chance to lose yourself to the sublimity of growth.
The song structure throughout these five songs is generally standard, which gives way for the lyrics to stand out. Most tracks begin with an acoustic riff, then build around that riff until the music becomes a solar system turning around the sun. A key change at the end of “Bear on a Bike” and the addition of piano on “Jets Taper Off” are standout moments that twist from the structure, but at their heart, these are folk songs that draw emphasis to the lyrics.
Once you unpack the meaning, the EP delves into a world of complex depth. Samuel Thulin, the mastermind behind Math Till Sunset, uses the image of climbing into a tree as a metaphor for his self-perpetuated loneliness on “Swaying Branch”. He explores themes of memory and perception on “Bear on a Bike”, singing, “Just like a bear on a bike, I though that there would be a light to follow me around.” He then reflects that “someone somewhere tried to warn me. I thought it was a lie.” Self-perception intermingles with the perception of others, which in detail, is lost to memory.
Perhaps the most stunning choice on the album is the shift from looking inwards to focusing on another, a figure described as “You.” “Lightning” takes this a step further with the arrival of a storm that brings all things together: “From the ground up to the sky through any living thing, and the rain that hits the rocks is the rain that hits the skin.” The You and Me become a universal We. “Bird in Mid-flight” opens with a scene of a pond with fish and birds, but with the removal of the narrator. He loves and envies this, just as he loves the You yet feels ashamed of this love on the train. It’s a small and poignant exploration on how to love and how to turn that feeling towards someone else.
“Bird in Mid-flight” concludes that paying attention to the little things is one entry point to love, and it becomes a perfect summation to an album grappling with that very question.
Top Track: “Lightning”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)