Emblems – Solstice

written by: October 30, 2013
Release Date:


Chicago band Emblems new EP Solstice is a glum and forlorn. The three-song EP isn’t quite enough to fully grasp what Emblems is trying to achieve musically, but it gives listeners a taste of what Emblems style.

The first track on the EP, “Tree Coats,” introduces listeners to Emblems’ darker rock sound. While this track is the first listen of the band, it is too long and rambles when it could have been much more effective had it been shorter and cleaner. There also isn’t any progression on the track, ending in exactly the same way it starts, a constant straightforward gloomy nondescript beat. The melancholic, monotone vocals aren’t engaging enough either, nor are they easy to understand. “Tree Coats” doesn’t go anywhere for its four and a half minutes, which is somewhat frustrating.

The quartet is made up of a cello, guitar, bass and drums, none of which do terribly interesting work throughout the track.

“Paper Airplanes” has more solos by cellist Lindsey Miller. This track has a more engaging structure to it that sounds polished. “Paper Airplanes” is the cleanest of the three tracks. It has a melody in the beginning highlighting the drums, and the sound of the track changes, making it more interesting than the other two songs sonically. The ebbs and flows of this track grab one’s attention.

An eerie ending to “Paper Airplanes” leads into the beginning of the final track “Rotten Woods.” The cello stands out on this track as well. It is featured throughout, but without it the track would not be particularly special. There is an acoustic guitar that changes things up, but it still functions as the electric guitar does on the other two tracks.

On “Tree Coats” and “Rotten Woods,” the instruments don’t mesh well. They sound unintentionally off. The way the instruments are arranged and operate on a given track do not sound like they flow together and are in sync. Each track also yearns for something more.

Emblems needs to incorporate another instrument or melody in order to maintain interest.

Quite frankly, the vocals are so oddly sung that if they are the creative driving force of a track, they are too difficult to understand, thus defeating the purpose. When they are understandable, they are not jaw dropping. For example, “We flew down from the petals of giant lilies in parachutes / I swear my harness is tearing,” on “Rotten Woods,” is the most interesting lyric that could also be clearly heard.

Solstice lacks some cleanliness, intrigue and variety. Perhaps if the EP had more tracks Emblems’ sound would be clearer, yet the three tracks on Solstice needed more tweaking to meet the full potential.

Emblems – Solstice tracklist:

  1. “Tree Coats”
  2. “Paper Airplanes”
  3. “Rotten Woods”