By Dusty Ray
The Symbols’ newest release, Be Here Now, is a soft musical stroll traversing through country, lounge, blues, reggae and funk-fusion. A guitar-driven album with vocals that fall somewhere between Bonnie Raitt and Joni Mitchell, Be Here Now is a dense and dance-worthy cut that does quite a bit in its short presentation.
The Symbols have an unerring catchiness about them, dancing the fine line between pop and underground with rump-shaking simplicity and an enthusiastic ear for different styles. “Good For Me” opens up the cut and immediately presents the talent of Symbols guitarist, Jasco, and singer, Mer Sal. Jasco’s melodies interweave with Mer Sal’s vocals, creating an interesting, jazzy harmony.
“Be Here Now” slows down the mood, combining folk with strange mixing effects and Stevie Ray Vaughan-esque guitar solos that roll over into the Bossa Nova-like track, “Soon.”
“Two Shades of Blue” brings yet another genre to the table with its reggae-revival bounciness. This track displays hilarious lyrics, and is themed around finding love based on favorite ice-cream flavors. The Symbols close out Be Here Now with a peculiar funkiness: “It” is the strongest track on the album, and is a fitting close to a varied EP.
Technique is important to The Symbols; they can change their sound in the blink of an eye. Though the vocal delivery can be shaky at points, and there are other spots of compositional uncertainty, Be Here Now is a great representation of The Symbols’ sound. For all of its brevity and quirks, this album is definitely still worth a listen.