Chicago singer-songwriter and filmmaker Eric Reyes knows he’s not yet famous. “Thought I’d come this far / The world can make you feel small,” he sings on “To Some I’m a Genius,” the opening track of suburban indie rock star, his first EP as Snow Ellet. “Yeah, I guess I’m pretty cool / For some I’m a genius like I always knew,” he concluded, reminding himself that even the most secure of us sometimes need external validation. After years of performing with Warped Tour bands in fine print and uploading unique tracks to his SoundCloud, Reyes quietly released suburban indie rock star in March of this year. At the end of April, a handful of independent blogging, podcastsand Twitter trend setters had understood the discreet emo-pop charm of Snow Ellet. Suddenly, “to some, I’m a genius” became more than just an aspiration.
suburban indie rock starThe radiant melodies and double-tracked vocals have drawn 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 child when Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and State enema first hit shelves, and he is referenced both as catalysts in his musical awakening. The crossroads of indie rock and 90s emo is a well-known path now, but with Reyes a myriad of influences and a sharp DIY production, the EP feels more like a future benchmark for like-minded successors than an attempt to chase a trend.
Lyrically, suburban indie rock star is sincerely self-aware, identifying personal anxieties and weaknesses wittily: “There’s no use panicking blindly / I’m just as useless, to put it mildly,” says a remarkable lyric on “in reverie.” “I wrote the book about honesty,” he sings on “hilly.” “I wrote the book about being second best and nothing less.” More than once, Reyes refers to himself as the “victim”, casting a shadow over his subject. But a sense of personal victory emanates from the “brick”: “Come out the window, I’ll throw a brick / And I’ll make the neighbors watch as I run away,” Reyes sings, perhaps a metaphor for the burdens social to draw attention to yourself; be seen has never been so annoying.
At five songs and less than 12 minutes, suburban indie rock star is a brief listen. But even with the pseudo brash title, Reyes’ cautious humility stands out. Rock stardom, by his definition, doesn’t necessarily involve selling arena tours or dating Hollywood elites; As long as suburban indie rock star is concerned, immortalization may come through low-key hangouts or crowded car rides with trusted companions. Snow Ellet makes a fitting soundtrack for those moments.
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