In a short time, Sylvan Weekends formed and released their debut EP, Outliers. It delivered tracks featuring stunning vocals, singalong hooks and mesmerising soundtracks, giving us standout moments such as “Every Day” and “185”. But that’s only part of it, as Matthew, Freya, and Daniel have been busy on the road spreading their music to welcoming audiences. Somehow, they have found time to write and record a new collection of songs called Headlong into the Unknown EP.
So, what will Headlong into the Unknown EP have to offer? It came alive “when Freya moved to Bristol for six months over winter, she and Matthew sent voice notes back and forth full of ideas and summer plans. These plans and memories, shared from two sides of the country, evolved into the EP: Headlong into the Unknown – four tracks of anticipation, excitement and nostalgia”. Going off the quality of their songwriting from their debut, this promises to be more songs that will make us sing along while smiling. Time to press play!
Opening up the EP is “Foolhardy”. It has a simple story “about the best summer you ever had when anything felt possible”. It welcomes the listener with a feel-good vibe, helped along with some electro beats. Soon, Matthew and Freya set the scene with the opening lines, “I will never forget this summer, it’s been better than I could have dreamed / Better than a fantasy, make-believe – honestly, it’s been better than a movie scene”. It is hard not to get swept away by the upbeat, sunny atmosphere of the music the trio have created. It’s infectious. If that wasn’t enough, you can’t help but sing along to the hook, especially the part “I wanna be foolhardy / Can we be foolhardy”.
“Sea Lion” shows us a different but familiar side of Sylvan Weekends. As their debut EP highlighted, their lyrical qualities are equally as impressive. They are honest and talk about scenarios we can connect to. “Sea lion” shares this quality. Matthew and Freya have moulded their words to describe “meeting friends of friends and all-night debates”. Like the track before, the music has a free-flowing, upbeat feel. It helps set the tone for the story to be shared.
From the opening lines, you can picture the scenes because of the depth of their words. It has a lot to offer, but never too much. It is a trait that flows into the infectious hook. When it arrives, you can’t help but join in with, “As I recall, sea lion, see kindness in your eyes / Your smile, was I high or was I hypnotised / My rationale, I find, more fragile every time, still I, I will follow till you need me too / Soon, you floated like a cannonball / It was then that I knew, I had to join you in the fall / Sea lion and a diving bell”. It all comes together to create a standout moment from the EP.
The title track, “Headlong into the Unknown”, started life as “an anthem to the buzz of cold water swimming”. Their opening lines, “Never felt more alive / And yet I’m petrified / I barely know my mind / But I’ve got to realign”, highlight how the swim feels than a story. Its hook enforces this with, “Headlong / Descending into the unknown / Diving down until it breaks / As we wade, wade / Would you stay stay?”.
Sylvan Weekends bring back the feel-good factor with their new EP, Headlong into the Unknown
Bringing the EP to a close comes “I Think You Know”. It is another shining star from the release as the storytelling qualities stand out again. For this, they reflect “the intensity of falling in love – holiday-romance style”. The subtle layers of electronic sounds and piano draw in the listener, setting the stage for the story to begin. They do so with the lines, “I’ll do my best to keep it out of sight, and I will do my best / Not to call you at night / I’ll try to hold my tongue when you talk about those other ones / But even so, I think you know / I think you know”.
Again, their lyrical qualities and how Matthew and Freya share them make this song so good. Both are effortless as their words flow so naturally. Just listen as they deliver the lines, “Guess I’ve fallen in love again / And I’ll be waiting here outside when your shift ends / And I will try to hide and say that we’re just friends / But you will see it on my face / You will see it on my face”. Like the songs before (and their debut EP), they have lots to say, but never too much. Their art of storytelling is perfect.
Like “I Think You Know”, Headlong into the Unknown EP is a beautiful listening experience from start to finish. It is another captivating collection of songs that is a delight to hear, just like their debut EP. But them both together and press play, your ears will be happy. You’d be wrong if you think Sylvan Weekends will take a break after two EP’s. There is much more to come. They are hitting the road yet again, this time to Germany. They also plan two more EP’s in the new year. But until then, give this release (and their debut) a listen today and enjoy the music by Sylvan Weekends.