While listening to The First Time EP, the Trekky Records debut from Chapel Hill trio Embarrassing Fruits, certain physical sensations drift in and out: There's the smell of a packed club in the summer heat, the feeling of wind rushing past your ears in a roofless car and the feeling of déjà vu. But this is a welcome sort of nostalgia, a re-simplification of indie rock that harkens to early '90s touchstones. Think Pavement on sedatives. Think Dinosaur Jr. without the feedback.
First Time begins with a reflection on wide-eyed, youthful dreams beset by the realities of the old world. Joe Norkus' guitar sits nicely between clean tones and distorted washes, drawing out chords alongside John Neville's simple rhythm, as bassist Lee Shaw takes the melody. The four songs mostly follow these same guidelines, but that sameness is largely a strength once you fall under the EP's spell.
"Bicycle" is an internal monologue about the aimlessness of youth and the perils of expressing one's own personality. "We've all got our own songs/ in our heads/ but we go to the show/ and we pretend to listen," sings Norkus. Such universal sentiments highlight the band's restrained confidence. That is, even while Embarrassing Fruits twists its collective arm toward a genre that's moved mostly beyond these sounds, the trio puts enough of its own stamp and spirit on these songs to put you proudly in that old place.
Embarrassing Fruits releases The First Time EP at Local 506 Friday, Aug. 1, at 9:30 p.m. with a free show. Hammer No More the Fingers and Opening Flower Happy Bird open.