Fun, fun, fun! This EP is for positive people, and for people who want to be positive. If you are a grouchy person who hates barbecues, prefers to stay inside all summer and doesn’t want to get wet, this music is not for you. You will hate it, and such cheerful music will only give you something else to be grouchy about.
Summer Songs is the rare recording that may make one smile before a single note is played. This is due to the list of summer things provided by Shawn James and Yoshimi Seymour, which include “eating too much watermelon, bonus juice at the bottom of your shaved ice, and hammock naps”. We last encountered this lovely duo on the charming Soundtracks for Everyday Adventures, and this time they’ve invited some guests along to increase the charm, including Yoshimi’s mom and a local ping-pong club. Now look at the track titles: “Cannonball Splash”, “Secretly Loving the Smell of Suntan Oil”, “Driving Home With a Towel on the Seat”. Are you in love with Lullatone yet? Are you surprised that a ukulele makes an appearance? Or a shaker, a glockenspiel, tongue clicks and hand claps?
I first heard this album on the 4th of July, a beach holiday in the U.S., during which we celebrate the discovery that tea, thrown into cold harbor water, does not turn into iced tea. This led to the novel substitution of sugar for salt, and the invention of Snapple. That afternoon, I learned that Summer Songs is the perfect going-to-the-beach and coming-home-from-the-beach companion, adorned with whistles, ebullient “la-la-las”, and a doo-wop song about ice cream, during which Shawn reminds Yoshimi that she does not like to “share in a way that is fair”. But she will!
The absolute best, super-duper, number one track on here is “Race Against the Sunset”. Anyone who disagrees with me is wrong, wrong, wrong and owes me a banana split! Even if you are in Australia right now, decrying the fact that Christmas is in summer and you’re in the middle of winter, this song will make you think of suntan lotion and shaved ice. This track is as cute as a kitten, but it is not a kitten, which means that it’s okay to let it play near the beach ball. “Cannonball Splash” is like taking a vacation with Dick Dale on a tropical island, playing surf guitar while riding a cool wave. Don’t fall over, it’s not your guitar! Closer “Still Feeling the Waves When You Go to Bed” includes the sound of the ocean on the shore, and draws the EP to a peaceful close. Sweet dreams, rest up, you’ll need the energy for making sand castles tomorrow! (Richard Allen)