With a stellar sway that seems to play out in half-time, despite the urgency in the tempo behind it, the first few strands of a melody that we find at the onset of “Saturday Morning” are incontrovertibly as stunning as any that we’ll find in the new EP from Project Grand Slam, The Singles Project. While these opening bars are boldly colorful and enticing, they represent but a sliver of the magic this upcoming record is boasting. PGS is, essentially, bringing fusion out of its shell here and giving it a pop makeover complete with hooky charms that wouldn’t have been possible just a few years ago here, but to say that their formula is rooted in throwback aesthetics would hardly be true.
The Singles Project’s “New Wind”, as well as “Like Never Before” and “She Always Draws a Crowd,” have multidimensionality in the vein of the icons of yore that I’ve heard a lot of different acts trying to experiment with in the last three years or so, but very few have applied it as uniquely and originally as Project Grand Slam is in these instances. This is an exceptionally surreal record, but as mind-bending as it gets in certain junctures, it never feels excessive in any of the key instrumental departments.
I love the way that “Saturday Morning,” a potential lead single from The Singles Project,” “New Wind” and “The Ship” were mixed, and though “She Always Draws a Crowd” and “Like Never Before” also have sterling production values, these three songs exhibit an attention to detail that I would love for this band to continue to expand upon in the future. Organic physicality is left alone here, and we never have to sift through any additionally imposed fat where none was needed to begin with just to find the core rhythm of a particular track.
Robert Miller’s vocals are powerful throughout all five songs in this EP, but in “The Ship,” I think we find them at their most exposed, vulnerable, and bonded to the substance of the instrumental melodies in the backdrop. There’s a moodiness the serenade in this track affords the lyrics that wouldn’t have been present were a different singer charged with dispensing the lyrics here, and when you factor in the immense chemistry between the other players in the band, we end up with a sonic tour de force that rivals some of the best out of the underground right now.
If you’re as big a fan of pop with a light fusion edge as I am, Project Grand Slam’s The Singles Project is a profound indie effort that belongs on your stereo this coming October for sure. There’s something for everyone in this extended play; sharp grooves, undeniably emotional lyricism, and even a muted but wholly virtuosic compositional style that has the potential to grow into something cratering if cultivated properly, and though it isn’t the only underground release that I would recommend picking up this autumn, it’s easily one of the best new EPs I’ve heard all year long.
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