Early Riser // Currents
Currents, the debut album by feminist indie punk band Early Riser, feels like a quiet vacation day spent in a wood-paneled cabin, waiting for a morning rain shower to pass — hints of bittersweet, but mostly just reveling in the simplicity of the moment.
Kiri Oliver and Heidi Vanderlee's vocals on Currents are definitely the aural centerpiece of the album. Even with piano and cello woven into the more traditional indie pop instrumentals, the music often comes across thin, more of a background for the vocals than an equal part of the songs. The vocals, while simple, feature intricate rhythms, clear harmonies, and fresh melodies that keep the songs interesting and original, and make the album something to pay attention to.
The greatest strength of the album, though, is definitely the lyrics. A mix of clever yet earnest, simple yet profound and insightful, the lyrics in Currents really drill down to the heart of the modern experience for a majority of adolescents and young adults.
Lines like "Now I live for something you'll never understand / and you've turn into everything I fear / I still think about you on your birthday / but only every other year" display a pithy expression of relationships and the experience of grief and moving on, while remaining catchy and lighthearted.
The album also moves through a clear progression of hope and empowerment, moving from optimistic in "The Nevers" ("I won't tell you to never say never / just tell me that you'll never change / sometimes the 'never's become the 'maybe's and 'okay's / Sometimes they sneak up behind you and give you your best days") to frustrated and scared, yet coming to terms, in "Wrecking Ball for a Dead End" ("Here's a wrecking ball for a dead end / what if it's too late / oh it always and it never is / so take a breath and channel a time when you were less afraid / when the lights go down what will you have to say?") to empowered and accepting in the title track "Currents" ("Spent years smashing lightbulbs / killing ideas on the first day / I played body guard / except standing right in my own way / and all this time we've been running in place / your hand in mine / let's finish the race / it's time to let the currents do what they're meant to do / it's time to say what you mean / it's time to let the currents do what you need them to / It's time to stop swimming upstream").
The unruffled honesty of the songs and the poignant familiarity of the lyrics — even in their most singular moments — makes Early Riser's debut effort a successful one.