Headlights | The Enemies EP (Polyvinyl)

Even the morose lyrics, “We’ll all die someday,” are refreshingly melodic, making its own truth much less frightening and more comforting and introspective.

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More Postal Service than the Method and the Result, but uniquely individual, Headlights are a welcomed breath of fresh air. Champaign, Ill., has had its share of great bands. Maybe it’s something in the water there, or the concentration of record labels that focus on putting out great records. Either way, Headlights are benefiting from this plethora of talent and opportunity, teaming together ex–Absinthe Blind members with Maserati in a musical dream team who have made an inspirational four-track EP.

The first track, “Tokyo,” would have easily fit on the soundtrack for Lost in Translation. Its dreamy quality lingers, allowing steady reflection with both Erin Fein and Tristan Wraight both lending their vocal talents. Again, the layering is in effect, and it’s obvious that they are trying to create an ethereal quality with both of their atmospheric voices. It feels, much like the rest of the EP, like a valentine to the soul.

“Centuries,” on the other hand, brings it up a notch by having a more indie-pop feeling, which raises the EP up to another height musically. Even the morose lyrics, “We’ll all die someday,” are refreshingly melodic, making its own truth much less frightening and more comforting and introspective. Overall, Fein’s vocals are extremely delicate and inviting. “Everybody Needs a Fence to Lean On” is honest and gentle at first. It takes a more powerful Death Cab approach in the middle of the track, bringing in the EP’s title with the line “Everybody’s got their enemies” repeating over and over.

Finally, the EP ties it all together with “It Isn’t Easy to Live That Well.” Like “Centuries,” this track is more upbeat in tempo, using more guitar and keyboard to fill it out. The song is somewhat moody in tone, while still remaining true to its roots with pop hooks and catchy lyrics. Headlights have an uncanny ability to shine light on dark ideas and bring them out into the open, almost like flashing a pair of high beams on the situation. But it’s this light that illuminates what otherwise might be too scary to sing about. Sure, they could scream and cry throughout their lyrics, but it wouldn’t be as true or as beautiful. With a full-length due in the fall, The Enemies is the right steppingstone to great music ahead.

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