Jun 29, 2021
By Caleb Campbell
Phoenix-based band Emby Alexander has been playing in the realm of experimental psych pop for nearly a decade, constantly breaking new ground and exploring new sounds over the course of their five records. But they’re now back this summer with a sixth album, Soars Era, possibly their most successful marriage of idiosyncratic psychedelia and accessible pop joys.
The band announced the forthcoming record with “Dye It Gold” and followed up with their relentlessly positive new single, “You Can Do It,” and they’ve now shared another album highlight, “Protect Your Rings (Gaudy Bauble),” premiering early with Under the Radar.
“Protect Your Rings (Gaudy Bauble)” shows off a new side to the band, one that’s direct, immediate, and irresistibly catchy. Where the band’s eccentric approach sometimes kept listeners at arm’s length, here the band welcomes listeners in with an upbeat indie rock track, pulling equally from ‘80s new wave and angular British guitar bands. Frontman Michael Alexander’s delivery is dense and wordy, an abstract stream-of-consciousness barrage that is met by darting instrumental hooks and striking percussion. In the midst of all their experimentation, Emby Alexander proves that they know how to craft a fine pop song just as well.
“This is our attempt at a no-fluff kind of song. Angular and to-the-point,” Alexander explains of the track. “Channeling The Smiths and Modest Mouse probably…The main theme is really about maintaining a balance between being proud and being humble. There are a million hidden layers as usual though. The music began as a deliberate ripoff of ‘Jennifer’ by Faust. I don’t think it’s apparent in our final form but maybe somebody will notice.”
He continues saying, “We skipped our normal touring schedule and recorded this at Sabbath Recording in Cincinnati with Jake Merritt. We drove all the way from Phoenix. We’re all big fans of Jake’s band Pomegranates. This song already had a similar clean, jangly, guitar-driven sound going for it, so we thought Jake could help accomplish our vision. The clarity on the drums is my favorite part. Jeremy [Lentz] gets drowned out on a lot of the records and you’d have to have a really keen ear or see us live to grasp how good he is, but on this one you can hear all his little ghost-notes and details so nicely.”
Check out the song and accompanying video early below, and watch for Soars Era, out July 24 on Earth Libraries.