crushed to make music as cliche as that first morning when you wake up next to someone new. Idiot. Enthusiastic. Hangover Phone battery at 10 percent. But then the light hits you in the face. Was the sun always this bright? Did you always look this good wearing someone else’s sweater? Yeah! You are so lucky! You have a reason to exist. Crushed’s debut EP, extra lifeit is like this: sexy, giddy, familiar but alive with new possibilities.
crushed is the brainchild of Shaun Durkan and Bre Morell. Both are seasoned musicians: Durkan is a producer and member of the San Francisco shoegaze band Weekend, while Morell is the vocalist for Temple of Angels. They began collaborating long-distance—Morell in Los Angeles, Durkan in Portland—thanks to a mutual affinity for trip hop and Natalie Imbruglia. On her first release as a crush, that shared taste manifests as an effortless widescreen dream pop with all the right touches. extra life It’s not particularly ambitious (the crushes are more interested in faithfully replicating their favorite sounds than subverting them), but it’s a genuinely enjoyable way to spend 26 minutes. On the opening track, “waterlily,” drum machines and a loop of distorted vocals flow into a flurry of guitar reverb, the sound of a crackling fire, and a gaping synth line. It’s a little Boards of Canada, a little souvlakiA bit of that Clams Casino song with Imogen Heap.
The fluid architecture of the EP means that individual songs don’t always feel especially distinct. But they don’t really have to: extra life it’s more about navigating an environment. On “Bedside,” Morell sings about “the best days of our lives,” sounding wistful over big guitars and a sparkling synth bubble. He breaks down on “respawn,” filled with sunny, radiant bass, a drum machine beat, and field recordings of passing cars. Morell’s voice is languid, moody, charming as he sings about what happens outside his window, the excitement of a new romance, and the pain of separation.
extra life he is cool without being remotely sentimental. it’s refreshing Where the vague emotional haze of dream pop can become monotonous, extra life it is full of moving parts. The EP feels propulsive, even if the basic template behind each song is pretty straightforward. A lot of it has to do with the DIY of the production: subtle field recordings and samples (the duo count nearly 200 on the entire record), a drum machine that kicks in on cue, reverb that’s cranked up. It’s cavernous, and Morell’s voice sounds huge. extra life it does what the best dream pop should do, and crushed wisely understands that anything beyond that could overcomplicate this brief moment of bliss.