Suburban Indie Rock Star EP – –

Chicago singer-songwriter and filmmaker Eric Reyes knows he isn’t famous yet. “I thought I’d come so far/The world can make you feel small,” he sings on “to some i’m genius,” the opening track of suburban indie rock star, his debut EP as Snow Ellet. “Yeah, I guess I’m kinda cool/To some, I’m genius like I always knew,” he concludes, reminding himself that even the most self-assured among us sometimes require outside validation. After years of performing with fine-print Warped Tour bands and uploading one-off tracks to his SoundCloud, Reyes quietly released suburban indie rock star in March of this year. By late April, a handful of independent blogs, podcasts, and Twitter tastemakers had caught on to Snow Ellet’s understated emo-pop charm. Suddenly, “to some i’m genius” became more than just an aspiration.

suburban indie rock star’s radiant melodies and double-tracked vocals have garnered understandable comparisons to Oso Oso’s Jade Lilitri, who similarly weaves elements of contemporary emo and pop-punk with the familiar warmth of early indie rock. Reyes was a kid when Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and Enema of the State first hit shelves, and he’s referenced both as catalysts in his musical awakening. The crossroads of ’90s indie rock and emo is a well-worn path by now, but with Reyes’ myriad influences and sharp DIY production, the EP feels more like a future reference point for like-minded successors than an attempt to chase a trend.

Lyrically, suburban indie rock star is earnestly self-aware, pinpointing anxieties and personal foibles with wit: “It’s useless to panic blindly/I’m just as useless, to put it kindly,” goes a standout lyric on “in reverie.” “I wrote the book on honesty,” he sings on closer “casualty.” “I wrote the book on being second best and nothing less.” More than once, Reyes refers to himself as the “casualty,” casting a shadow across his subject matter. But a sense of personal victory comes through on “brick”: “Get out the window, I’ll throw a brick/And I’ll make the neighbors stare while I’m running out of there,” Reyes sings, perhaps a metaphor for the social burdens of calling attention to yourself; being perceived has never been more unnerving.

At five songs and less than 12 minutes, suburban indie rock star is a brief listen. But even with the pseudo-brash title, Reyes’ prudent humility stands out. Rock stardom, by his definition, doesn’t necessarily involve selling out arena tours or dating Hollywood elites; as far as suburban indie rock star is concerned, immortalization can come by way of low-key hangouts or packed car rides with trusted companions. Snow Ellet makes an appropriate soundtrack for those moments.


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