Jack and Eliza – No Wonders EP – Catchy pop duo brings the beach to your ears

Okay so that tag line might be a bit much. But seriously, Jack and Eliza are great. With left coast 60s guitar swagger and Beachboys-esque harmonies, their sound is reminiscent of the California sun. Feeling fresh and authentic, Jack and Eliza do vintage right in their debut EP. They are not only a band to keep an “ear” out for… they’re a band you’re going to adore from first listen. Trust me on that one!  The album will be out on September 23, so get ready to grab a copy for yourselves.

So their early release single is a poppy love song “Secrets” that drips with teenage emotion. The guitar on it takes listeners back to the 60s but the lyrics keep it new and exciting. It was the first track I heard on the album and hooked me from the start.

“Hold the Line” again highlights some pretty wonderful harmonies. I’m not sure if it’s some sort of vocal effect in the recording process to create the reverb on the voices, but it makes them sound bigger and more powerful than they probably are. But what doesn’t make sense (in the best way possible) is that they also sound intimate and a little bit adorable. Usually reverb makes vocals soar (like Adele), but these just sound quaint. “Hold it right there… don’t you want to keep me on the line?” The lyrics on this one feel a bit antiquated. But that’s good… it’s vintage. Seriously this song should be playing in one of those vintage clothing shops.

“So Open” is a song full of relational angst. Featuring a female lead vocal and a handsome dose of duo harmonies, the song has more of the awkward-high-school slow dance feel to it. (Oh seriously, don’t act like you ever had comfortable, normal slow dances in high school. They were all awkward.) Anyways, “I don’t mean to be taking you over, but I can’t stand when you leave through the back door. Open – open – you left me so open. I can’t count how many strangers you let in…” Layers of complexity, it’s clearly a song with a sweet California sound and a deeply-emotional core. In other words, it might sound like beach music, but this isn’t the theme song for your beach party.

I’m pretty sure they kept “Floodlights” in the same key as the song that precedes it. It’s an intriguing track that’s about obsession in relationship, but not in a creepy way. It’s about being in deep. The least “beach” feeling on the album, it’s still easily a vintage flavored track. The final track “Heading West” is a celebratory anthem. Chipper, witty, and endearing, it’s about striking out on an adventure for love. Probably the most “bubble gum” of the pop offerings on the album, it’s good in the way that “Secrets” is.

The album is bookended nicely with “Secrets” and “Heading West” as arguably the best tracks. It’s probably not for everyone. Readers looking for some kind of esoteric hipster folk music are in the wrong place. Jack and Eliza are beach pop done right. Readers looking for something to put a smile on the face, perhaps while driving with the wind in your hair, this is a good album. Deeper than the actual 60s pop music that it emulates, the music is richly harmonic and as satisfying as salt water taffy.

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