Already thinking about the soundtrack to the summer? EKKSTACY’s warm, fuzzy third album might be an early contender.

Emma Wilkes

Listening to EKKSTACY's new album in January is like eating fruit salad while standing in the snow – nothing’s stopping you from doing it, but it’s a bit unseasonable. Instead, the Canadian artist’s third record feels like a passport out of this dark, cold time of year to a time that’s warmer, sunnier and has significantly better vibes. In fact, it comes off as an album that wants to be the soundtrack to your life, and it’s all too easy to imagine it being so.

Paradoxically, EKKSTACY appears nonchalant yet deeply considered all at once, laidback in its energy but with surprising nuance underneath – landfill indie, this is not. There’s a fuzziness and a warmth about its choppy guitars that’s incredibly easy to like, and it infuses the likes of the gooey, grungy luv of my life and the angsty surf rock of fuck with a sense of swagger. Meanwhile, goo lagoon is a highlight for similar reasons, least of all for its just-subtle-enough inflections of The Cure that showcase the breadth of EKKSTACY's influences.

The other major strength of the album is its knack for creating a sense of atmosphere, aided by Joy Division-esque production that makes it all the right kinds of cavernous. Sometimes, it carries it off in a quiet but no less enthralling way, as it does in the twilit balladry of problems, but it’s when it goes from quiet to loud in the mighty the headless horseman has lost its way that it’s even more impressive. Then, there’s the matter of the aching get me out, which practically grabs you by the throat as it metamorphoses from muted to massive in a truly stunning way.

Impossible to pigeonhole yet with tricks up his sleeve, this is a record to make memories to, and with that, it could make EKKSTACY a next generation crossover star.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Poorstacy, Ultra Q, Teenage Wrist

EKKSTACY is out now via United Masters

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