Fully aware that the surf-pop and C86 territory Big Wave have carved out is well familiar by now, The Roots of Love (Come Tumbling Down) EP only takes half a minute before it delivers its first big chorus. But, if anything the opening track “Circumstance” is one large hook from start to finish. The track opens with a gentle, shuddering crescendo that sounds like a docile but thrilling seaside rollercoaster climbing its lift hill before the drop, and the whole song rises, dips and loops back on itself in much the same spirit. Frontloaded with hooks, when it eventually wanders into an instrumental break comprised of a melodic, meandering guitar solo and excited, wordless coos, it’s only to make the eventual return more rewarding, and the second go-round more inevitable.
It’s an economical track that shows off the band’s generous pop sensibility, and it’s the EP’s standout track, but not by a huge margin. Elsewhere “Blissed Out” has the band offering its best C-86 impression, with vocalist Ella’s warm, wan-voiced vocal cocooning the knotty guitar jangle; title track “The Roots of Love” playfully skips along, punctuating its hazy swoon with off-kilter stops and starts; “Another Year or Two” shuffles along to that Shangri-Las drum beat, joined by a weird synth adding quirky filigree; and closer “Leavers Party” sees the album out on a rockier setting without sacrificing the usual twee underpinnings of elfin woos and bobbing pre-school synth melodies that define much of the album’s sunny tone.
The Roots of Love EP does little that’s revelatory, but it’s an exciting, fun and rewarding listen that manages to balance its obvious, familiar references with an infectious and quietly riotous attitude. Plenty of bands take the path Big Wave have taken to hide a weakness - a naff ear for melody or unconvincing lyricism - but more than a tribute or cover-up, their instinctive ear for melody puts that revivalist instinct to very good use.
Release: 11th June 2012, self-release