Get ready to drift along to the blissful sonic warmth emitted by the indie-pop duo corner club — the project of Savannah Du (vocals/piano) and Michael Zhang (producer/guitar). Their new self-produced EP in the rearview mirror unfolds as a tender retrospection of their last two years of life. But it also serves as irrefutable evidence of the San Francisco-based band’s ability to create radiant textures and vulnerable songwriting that tugs yearningly at the heartstrings.
The name corner club alludes to the circumstances under which the pair first met — catching each other’s eye at a college party at Princeton. After a move to New York City, the two started carving out time for jam sessions they eventually self-produced. They officially formed corner club in 2018 with the release of their fledgling singles “Sitting Across” and “Manhattanhenge.” Their debut EP little love lullabies came a few years later in 2021 and heralded their arrival as creators of transfixing bedroom pop.
Their newest EP was conceived in the middle of a cross-country relocation from the East Coast to the Golden State. Immersing you in the process in a collage of memories and vibrant melodics: dreams of childhood bedrooms and the quieting recollection of past loved ones. Its opening track, “funny colors,” emerges bathed in an earnest nostalgia that materializes as a swell of glowing vocals and field recordings — from the twittering of birds to the ebullient sound of water gurgling buoyantly behind synths.
The aptly titled “radiant” burns and hums with the duo’s potent emotive aura, manifesting an enthralling soundscape that ripples with the strum of acoustic and electric guitars. On “whenever you’re ready” they bare their snarky teeth on a punchy indie-rock crooner that bends its jaunty rhythms toward wishing ill on an ex and their new girlfriend. “I hope she’s flawless so you feel insecure,” Du cries out against a grumble of riffs.
Two songs on the EP — the heart-wrenching ballad “i’ll never say i love you first again” and mournfully lilting “the ezra song” — were also recorded as live takes. Effectively capturing corner club in the act of conjuring the beguiling magic that effuses from their music.
While closing song “when i die” finds them reminiscing over a gorgeously resonant acoustic melody about what comes after mortality. “And if the world hasn’t burned by then / If the sky’s still blue,” Du coos luminously alongside an airy mixture of woodwinds and strings. “I will always wake / For the sunrise / Even though I’m s’pposed to sleep / For forever.”
Words: Steven Ward
Listen to in the rearview mirror the new EP from corner club below!