Take one part Vampire Weekend, two parts The Bravery, a dash of The 1975, finish with a spritz of Two Door Cinema Club and you’ve got yourself the SoCal rock band Bad Suns. With their effortless combination of catchy pop hooks and bright guitar riffs, Bad Suns have sculpted a sound that is a masterful combination of all the things that make indie, pop, and alt rock great. The simple quartet of vocalist, guitarist, bassist, and drummer are all between the ages of 19 and 22, but don’t let their ages fool you. Transpose, though only four songs long, features enough rich, boisterous melodies to satisfy almost anyone.
The EP opens with “Cardiac Arrest,” a recent iTunes Single of the Week. It is this track that immediately evokes thoughts of bands like The Killers with its anthemic sound. The song flows seamlessly from verse to chorus and back again, creating a flow that would be better suited for a shorter track. The song gets a bit redundant by the two-minute mark, leaving the other minute and three seconds of run time less enjoyable. However, the catchiness of the song and the smoothness in the lyrics are undeniable.
The next track, “Transpose,” is thankfully more interesting than its predecessor. It is a bit slower, too, yet the energy in the chorus is almost palpable. Vocalist Christo Bowman sounds quite a bit like Brandon Flowers of the aforementioned Killers here, a vocalist not so easily mimicked. The layered guitar riffs keep things moving in the verses, where the slowed tempo is much more noticeable.
“Salt” is definitely a personal favorite off the EP. Its funky feel and upbeat percussion break up the slight monotony of the first two tracks. Bowman’s range shines here, with his light, airy falsetto giving the track an atmospheric quality. “Salt” has an almost disco-like quality to it that’s hard to resist moving to, even if it is from a seated position on your couch.
The fourth and final track is called “20 Years,” a song that shows a more experimental quality than the others on the EP. The song is immediately, noticeably different than the previous three. It is rhythmically slower, the plucky guitar riffs breathing just enough life into the song to keep it from flatlining. Lyrically, the song delves deeper than the others, too. “20 Years” might not be as energetic and fun as the rest of the EP, but it is a welcomed break, the most interesting track on Transpose by far.
Overall, the EP is an enjoyable pit stop for lovers of simplicity. Transpose doesn’t try to be something it’s not, which is admirable. Still, for those looking for more variety in their music, perhaps hold off until Bad Suns’ full-length comes out. These four tracks are good, but when listened to repeatedly, their allure quickly wears off.