Varsity, the boys (and girl) from Illinois are gearing up to release their latest opus, Fine Forever, an extension of human emotion. Despite the year being 2020, the record reaches back in time resurfacing the unmistakable sound of 00s indie whilst giving it a fresh lick of paint.
Playing on the unpredictability of the human psyche, Fine Forever gloats in its arbitrary magnificence. This is most noticeable in the opening few tracks. ‘Runaway’ especially boasts all the best qualities of a song: catchy chorus, dulcet vocals, chirpy riffs whilst pivoting around sudden twists and sharp corners. For this, it earns the title of ‘a pop song on steroids’. Mid-way through the song comes an intense and gratifying saxophone solo… Out of nowhere!
Following the path trodden by ‘Runaway’, the succeeding tracks on this album similarly portray spiritual transcendence and emotional catharsis. ‘The Memphis Group’ and ‘Surfin’ Milwaukee’ both enter the realm of the unspoken, creating waves of euphoria with ethereal instrumental parts and guitar parts assimilating the resonance of a desolate void.
However, the otherworldly bubble is burst when the brash guitar of ‘Reasons To Run’ incoherently follows. A painful hiccup. Despite this, Varsity regain control in ‘Heaven Sent’ which sounds like a pair of jeans with the perfect fit feel. The outro to the penultimate track is a delicious polyphonic sandwich, laden with mellifluous relish and you just want to take another bite.
Closing the album with a final blow is the five-minute ballad of ‘Sicko World’. Varsity make angst graceful. A brazen riff grumbles before pupating into a twinkling tickle of the top notes - and then back into the grumble, the frown lines truly embedded in the foundations of this track. Despite the bipolar divisions of grunge and dream pop, ‘Sicko World’ unearths the band in a raw form with stripped back and seemingly basic parts that complement each other in this grand decrescendo.
Fine Forever is released on 29 May 2020 via Run For Cover Records.