Soft instrumental tones and gentle vocals are the characteristics of Summer Hours’ latest album, Closer Still, an artfully crafted record that soothes and sways the listener. Oberlin, Ohio duo Mike Bliss and Rachel Dannefer, along with Richard Upchurch and Griffin Richardson, make up the group. Labeling themselves indie rock, Summer Hours conveys high-pitched singing, modest guitar riffs and pulsing drumming while boasting a dreamy sound with a beautiful melody on Closer Still. To the misfortune of their fanbase, Summer Hours will most likely not put out any more records due to geographical separation of the members and family obligations.
“Close And Closer,” the first track on this record, truly encompasses what most of the album is like; soft, mellow, yet upbeat with a dash of Richardson’s rhythmic drumming and Mike Bliss’ oscillating guitar chords. Rachel Dannefer boasts an impressive vocal range best portrayed on the fourth track, “On My Own.” Her soft and sweet-sounding voice, which hits high notes expertly, is consistent throughout the whole album. In acoustic songs “Winter” and “Seven Count,” Bliss shows acoustic aptitude amidst the mellow electric guitar that rules over most of the songs in the album. One song that stood out of the pack and showed originality was “Organ Song,” which was a solo effort on behalf of Dannefer, who performed on the organ as well as singing about love.
Separately gifted musicians and together a talented band, the members of Summer Hours provide a soft, subtle melody without compromising instrumental complexity in their songs. Uniting displays of musical creativity throughout the album, from acoustic pieces to fast tempo songs such as the closing track, “Plastic Nametags,” Summer Hours brings a subtle yet unique sound in Closer Still.