King Summer, the new EP from Asheville-based psych-pop trio RBTS WIN, is only three songs long. But considering that vinyl copy of the last RBTS full-length album, Palm Sunday, at my house is beginning to wear thin from too many spins, I was excited to hear some new stuff when I heard about King Summer.
The EP does what good EPs tend to do, which is to give a taste of how the group's grown since Palm Sunday while leaving me, the listener, wishing for more.
King Summer brings RBTS WIN back from the more hardcore sounds of Dap City, the name of the group's collaboration with Rapper Shane of Charlotte, to a synth and boom-bap sound more typical of a RBTS WIN release.
"King Summer," the EP's lead-off and namesake track, sets the tone with soulful synthesizers set over a subtle but brooding beat that certainly inspires head nods.
The lyrics, which deal with oppression and the preference of the powers that be to keep those under them divided, couldn't be more timely here in Charlotte, where we've argued over House Bill 2 and the Charlotte Uprising all year long.
The second track, "Same Ghost," also finds lead singer Cliff Worsham grappling with some of life's heavier issues, as he tries to encourage listeners to use what little time they have on Earth to follow their passion as opposed to someone else's goals.
The beat has a bit of an underlying carnival feel thanks to the repetitive calliope keyboard sounds, but not in a gimmicky, campy way. The song itself is far from anything clownish, and isn't as upbeat as the lead track.
While "King Summer" might have you dancing with your lady in the living room, "Same Ghost" inspires more of a roll-up-and-sit-back-on-the-couch feeling.
The third track, "Heart Eyes," brings back the funk, ending the EP on a danceable note. The song carries a motivational message, bringing the themes of all three tracks full circle. Perhaps what surprised me most about the EP is the desire to tackle life's broader issues, with a focal point on love for oneself and those who differ from you as opposed to what one would commonly think of as a "love song."
Despite the emoji-inspired title of the last track, all three songs are more introspective looks at how one lives their own life as opposed to your typical cuffing season fare.
All in all, despite the whole thing being over in just under 13 minutes, it's a fun ride that will be sure to get you moving and thinking, maybe even simultaneously, and that's the type of musical multitasking you rarely get to experience anymore.