June 28, 2016

Tracks: Varsity - Smash / Still Apart

Varsity's bright and sunny new tracks make for the perfect summer soundtrack.

What makes for a good summer soundtrack? Do the songs need to be full of shimmering guitars, dreamy synths, or maybe just a strong driving beat? It may be up to each person’s own opinion, but I don’t think anyone could deny that Chicago’s Varsity is a perfect pick for these upcoming sweltering months. With their unique brand of rich syrupy pop, the group never fails to charm and hook listeners after only one spin. Since I first heard the group a year ago, Varsity’s sticky sweet riffs have pulled me in and have yet to let me go, as each released single is better than the last. Now, the group has a new digital 7” with two more incredible tracks ,“Smash and “Still Apart,” worthy of your seasonal playlist.

With an off-beat jangle opening up the track, “Smash” takes a few seconds to piece itself together before taking off. With the sound of a howl, the song soon finds its balance as the driving beat lays out the rest of the song. “I’m tired and I’m stupid and I think I can’t get bored!” cries vocalist Stephanie Smith as she slices through the underlying fuzz. This grittier, pounding A-side hugely contrasts the second track “Still Apart,” as the initial coos lead into one of the most bubbly and bright melodies I’ve heard from the Midwest rockers. Through its breezy guitar and warm synths, Smith finds herself questioning the status of an old relationship when she repeatedly demands, “Are we still apart?” Yet, even though both of these tracks differ in their tone, Varsity still delivers the same bright melodies and catchy hooks I’ve grown to love and expect from the band. Dowsing their sound with lush synths and hammering riffs, the group really outdoes themselves on this online 7” and offers up two of their most skillfully done tracks yet. Light and sunny to their core, the tunes are perfect for the summer, but let’s be honest – we’ll be listening to them for way longer than that.


Listen to Varsity on soundcloud.

Amy Garlesky is a philosophy/political science student and freelance writer based in Cleveland, OH and Burlington, VT. Follow her ramblings on twitter @ayygarl.