Earlier this month, Summer Flake released Hello Friends LP on Rice is Nice and today, Under the Radar premiered the video for “Tumbling Down” off of the record. They described the video saying it “finds Crase in fine form as she leads a backing chorale in an unvarnished version of the moodily entrancing track.”
Mother Jones gave their take on the record and put it so perfectly, noting, “Australia’s Stephanie Crase, who records as Summer Flake, makes electric folk music that’s both mammoth and intimate. Her sweet-and-sour combination of frayed guitars and dreamy, overdubbed voices has a bracing sizzle, with sentimental melodies tugging at the heartstrings to amplify the drama. If Hello Friends feels like eavesdropping on someone’s aching reveries, it never achieves the creepy oversharing quality sometimes heard in confessional pop, thanks to Craise’s vibrant sense of songcraft.“
At once exuberant and melancholic, Summer Flake’s distinct sound is abundant in Hello Friends. The opening track “Son of a Gun” begins with the sweetest of melodies, before swiftly unfolding into an unexpected wall of searing guitars exemplary of the technical expertise that makes Summer Flake’s live show so electrifying. It’s followed by the winding “Shoot and Score,” with mesmerizing guitars underscoring straight-shooting lyrics not tied to any place nor time but that somehow are comfortingly familiar. Later, “Wine Won’t Wash Away” dives into a powerful combination of cacophonous guitars and bright-but-brooding vocals. Concluding the ten-track voyage into a vast inner landscape is “Mess,” a slow-moving, introspective gem tinged with contemplative distortion, rounding out the already captivating album with an unmistakable air of hope.
Drenched in a timelessness of reverb, Summer Flake’s songs are transcendent – moving through the dreamy wings of pop, via the Crystals and the Paris Sisters, down the lonely byways of Karen Dalton and Laurel Canyon folkies, ambling up into the grubby 90s of Hole and Sonic Youth, before lingering out finally into the sunshine of other dream-pop contemporaries like Best Coast or Mac Demarco.
Crase’s output has been prolific over the last four years, with four EPs under her belt that garnered increasing attention in Australia and internationally. In August 2015, Henry Rollins premiered “The Sun Won’t Shine” (the debut single from the Time Rolls By EP) on legendary Californian public radio station KCRW, with Rollins proclaiming “we love this band”.
Hello Friends continues Crase’s tendency for the thoughtful arrangements, ’90s-tinged frankness and dizzying harmonies that have led her from strength to strength, this time adding a deeper layer of emotional reflection to an already enduring sound.
These songs, as delicate as a snowflake on a summer beach, succeed in unmooring one from the drudgeries of place and time. This new release secures Summer Flake as a band to watch.