EP REVIEW: SET SAIL – HEY!

If you live in Sydney then chances are you’ve already seen Set Sail. The trio started off small, initially by busking in Pitt Street Mall. The plan was to make some money and fund an overseas trip. But things then snowballed so much that they achieved that goal by busking through Europe and then they scored a spot at the recent ARIA Awards.

But it wasn’t all a bed of roses. There was some internet backlash (something that comes with the territory of being successful in a land where we cut down tall poppies). Then their singer got deported back to his native, US. But the guys have overcome all this and are back with their heads held high thanks to their shiny new EP, Hey! It’s also the follow-up to their The Riley Moore debut or the one that had been hand-burned and stamped- talk about DIY!

This time around, violinist, Josiah Willows has said that the guys wanted to make a solid, musical statement after they whittled down four killer songs from the original 15. A self-confessed lover of big melodies, strong chords and large hooks, it is easy to see these elements punctuating the tracks. In many ways Set Sail are like fellow Sydneysiders, Dappled Cities, in that their latest release contains its fair share of “single-sounding” cuts thanks to the overall, infectious pop grooves.

“Charleston” begins with a quirky yet sunny statement straight from a sandy beach. Musically it seems nestled between the kind of upbeat pop of The Drums and Born Ruffians. Heck, it’s a feel-good hit for the summer destined to get some retro-embracing kids dancing a twist just like their mamas and papas did a few decades back.

The sugary vibe is continued into “Who Are You” where chiming riffs are flavoured with an almost Disco-like strut and some of the rainbow swirls from an old, Disney cartoon. The closest other thing I’ve heard to it is Yves Klein Blue’s exuberant and sorely missed, indie pop. It’s a vibe that also sees us soar away into “Kids” while the title track reprises those chiming guitars from earlier. But this time the song is packaged as a carefree call-to-arms that sounds like what you’d get if you took Coldplay’s epic harmonies from “Paradise” and mixed them with The Living End’s grunt and The Edge’s effects.

Set Sail’s Hey! EP is all about smiling faces, flailing limbs and dancing in the sunshine. While it is nothing new, it is a formula that has worked wonders for many good bands in history. Plus, when it induces such raucous fun you are left to wonder if there really is anything left to complain about, both here and in life in general.

Originally published on 19 August 2012 at the following website: http://www.theaureview.com/albums/set-sail-hey-2012-ep

Visit The Au Review’s homepage at: http://www.theaureview.com/

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