Koalra – Surprise Lights

Call out all your neighbors, setup listening parties online, dial your speakers up to eleven. Koalra is releasing a new EP! Less than six months after their self-titled debut album, the Chicago quartet is back at it again with Surprise Lights. The noise rock band zooms forward at a blistering pace, carrying with them the intensity of sound that has been their staple, while still keeping true to their exploration of introspective themes such as separation, isolation and the overbearing noise of modern life. This 6-track collection was said to have been written and recorded in eight days. If only everyone else was as productive in this quarantine situation, we’d all be better off.

Their signature wall-of-noise and frenetic drums catches you off guard with the opener “Right A” as it smashes through the gates. Its intensity keeps building, evoking a sense of claustrophobia and the struggle to break free. A mad dash that questions the chaos and uncertainty that’s happening all around us. 

“The Circling Sea” dials back with an aqueous swirl of guitars. A cool yet troubled kind of mood sweeps across its melodies, like ripples in the ocean. The vocals are somber and sincere, as its character tries to find his way in this massive world and its circling sea.

The centerpiece “Kid Beautiful” seeks to wrestle tension within a relationship, adeptly conveyed by the push-and-pull of counter melodies between the bass and guitar. The reverb-tinged vocals supplements the line: “It’s obvious to me that we’re down to nothing / But your eyes still sting / It keeps sinking through me”. 

The closing track “Stop Turning” paints a grim and disorienting atmosphere with its boiling bass and a revolving industrial hum that wails in the background. The longest track of the EP, running at 5 minutes long is an ode to loneliness and the feeling of being left behind when everyone else has moved on.

Surprise Lights is surely a welcome surprise, Koalra has captured a soundscape that matches the feelings that we’re all experiencing in this time of isolation. A cathartic outlet that everyone can share now that we’re stuck in our homes. We’re excited for everyone else to hear it. The EP will be released on the 24th of April. Stay tuned!


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