Like its collagist cover, pink glow is a mesmerizing combination of sounds and textures. The four action-packed tracks from Vancouver’s kai bravewood is a meeting place for poptimists and emo kids alike where infectious melodies and sadness live in harmony and the result is one of the most exciting EPs of 2019.
By himself, lead singer Tyler Norris is a collage of sounds. Norris’ pop-punk accented vocal runs inject simple melodies with added dimensions. His dazzling range is at its most dramatic on closer “Mmnt” when Norris plunges from a spine-tingling high note to a deep, vocoder warped bass note. But his natural vocal power is felt immediately, when Norris, within the EP’s opening minute, sings “I hold my breath as she slept on my shoulder,” tracing the hills and valleys of the body with his voice.
Musically, pink glow is meticulously layered with quick guitar licks, shiny keyboard melodies, and a consistently explosive percussion section. kai bravewood move between angular pop tracks and shadowy, synth-heavy numbers while a saxophone floats in and out of the tracks with both softening and startling effects. What lies on the surface of the EP’s soundscapes is a battle between deep melancholy and hopefulness.
On opener “Green Thrash,” Norris emerges from ebulliency to make a stomach-churning admission: “Tears in her eyes, I am her first born baby boy. I almost took my life from her.” By the following track, the outstanding “Kombucha Baptism,” Norris promises to see beauty in everything and states: “I’m not afraid to die. No, I’m beautiful.” But this is not a morbid resignation. It’s a clear understanding of his place in the world, which, a few breaths later, Norris expands on: “I learned to accept that I’ll be somewhere in between incredible sadness and the happiest I’ve ever been.”
The pink glow that kai bravewood named their EP after radiates repeatedly over the four songs: “Pink glow, oh transcend me, oh transcend me,” Norris sings on “Kombucha Baptism.”; “Put a pink glow in my morning sadness,” he sings on “Little Magic.”; and finally on “Mmnt,” “Pink glow, it’s right outside your window.” kai bravewood never explicitly states what the source of this pink glow is. But I think it might be the moments of happiness nature gives us. Those magnificent occurrences that help us realize that life is beautiful. The sunrise. The sunset. The pink glow.