August 26th, 2022 9:15pm Stage 2
Screw you, sophomore slump. If there are four words in the English language that perfectly encapsulate the attitude and excellence of the new Edukators EP, How to be Alone, that would be them. Recorded during the waning days of the pandemic with producer and knob-twiddler extraordinaire Ray Ketchem, this five-song collection both builds on, and occasionally surpasses, the enchanting guitar-fueled indie pop of the band’s 2020 debut, Outside/In.
Starting with the lead-off track, “River Styx”, the band’s intent (and intensity) is clear. Imagine an early Prince single mashed up with Kerplunk-era Green Day, then sub in Chrissie Hynde on vocals, and you’re getting close. It’s a super-catchy kiss-off song that explores romantic passion and disillusion in equal measure, all set to a frenetic, infectious beat.
And this, in turn, sets the tone for the rest of the album. It’s a highly engaging, often head- bopping collection of songs that expertly examine the complexities of romance while remaining fundamentally hopeful at their core. Although lead singer and lyricist Sophia Rothman is just starting out (and currently crushing it in her first year of college), her vocal phrasing and insights into the human condition are pitch-perfect, creating an emotional throughline that builds in intensity as the album progresses.
This intensity comes to a head in the album’s namesake and centerpiece, “How to be Alone”, an exquisitely sung meditation on the loss of love that moves from delicate, piano-tinged ballad to a deceptively sunny chorus, and ultimately into a rave-up finale that explodes with all of the pent-up energy the song has been simmering from the very first note.
The fact that this brava performance is followed by the band’s epic, orchestral rendition of Nada Surf’s “80 Windows” is just icing on the cake. Although it’s a cover song, Sophia’s plaintive, forceful interpretation of the vocal melody, paired with the masterful violin work of Claudia Chopek, creates a soaring climax that effectively ties all of the emotional threads of the album together into a ragged, heartrending bow.
An impressive second effort from a band that just keeps getting better, How to be Alone is both a superb collection of songs, and a bright auger of exceptional things to come.
The Edukators are: Singer/guitarist/lyricist Sophia Rothman, drummer David Rothman (no relation) (ok, just kidding, he’s her dad), guitarist Eric Cimino, and bassist Dan Catalano.
Believe In Ghost!
Meshing all of their influences, Believe In Ghost! invokes elements of punk, hip-hop, funk, rock n' roll, and pop to create a unique brand of music.
Predictably unpredictable, BIG! seamlessly blends sounds that feel, all-at-once, on the risk of derailing, incredibly contained, and instantly catchy.