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ep review: he seems upset

The Hails have released their debut EP titled He Seems Upset. The EP is made up of 8 groovy tracks that give you that feeling of a never ending summer. Half of the songs had been previously released as singles, and the other half are exclusive to the EP. The songs are full of catchy beats, killer bass lines, and beautiful vocals. It’s the perfect soundtrack for a solo (or socially distanced) dance party. 

The EP opens with “Sippin on Daylight.” It sets the tone for the rest of the songs to come, and it surely starts off strong. This song is an explosion of summer vibes. I see beach sunsets and drives with the windows rolled down. By the end of the song, I’m sure you’ll be singing and dancing along to the upbeat melody. Those same vibes continue into the next track, “Denial.” Immediately, I was reminded of Her’s songs “Don’t Think It Over” and “Under Wraps.” The layers of different sounds, synths, and vocals make it my favorite on the EP. This song sings of the complexities of–obviously–being in denial. Shortly after the halfway mark in the song, there is a break in the main beat, leaving you with only the synth before slowly adding back in the elements of the full song. This creates a colorful build of sounds until the beat drops back to the catchy chorus. Next up is “Situations,” it keeps the good times coming. This song is reminiscent of the styles heard in music by No Vacation. Peppy and dreamy, “Situations” is backed with meaningful lyrics about being put in a place you don’t want to be. Lyrics like, “Give me a way out now, too much communication,” and “I was thinking I could fake this shit all night, but I don’t want to take it that far,” remind the listener that there are deeper intentions hidden underneath these seemingly ‘happy’ songs. 

The next track completely removes that cloak of ‘fake happiness.’. “Empty Castles” is a slower, emotional song that is a break from the rest of the EP’s upbeat music. The simple guitar paired with beautiful vocals are enchanting. It is the “Happy Accidents” of Saint Motel’s saintmotelevision and the “Heather” of Conan Grays’s Kid Krow. We are back in vibetown with the next track “Heartbeat.” The simple beat and short guitar chords set up for a higher pitched vocal that is so lovely and this song also comes with part two. At first it is almost psychedelic and then the beat drops into this ultra groovy dance break. Even if “Heartbreak Pt. 2” is short, it still manages to pack a punch and add that much more depth to the overall EP. Speaking of adding depth, the next track is an interlude called “Flatlines.” More of the ethereal, psychedelic elements explored in previous songs come together to make you feel like you’re floating in the clouds. 

Lastly, “Younger” closes off the EP. Released as a single back in 2018, this track remains the band’s most listened to song on Spotify–and for good reason. A fantastic bassline and banging chorus make this the perfect song to close off the EP. This is the perfect song to play on the way back from the dance party. It is more relaxed but still makes you want to tap your feet along to the beat. Overall, He Seems Upset is a wonderfully done EP that provides just the kind of music the world needs right now. Every single song could find their way onto all kinds of playlists with their dance potential and meaningful lyrics. I know for sure they will be added to my ‘songs that make quarantine better’ playlist. 

Listen to He Seems Upset here:

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