Local Listen – Cycles’ Summer Dress is Quarantine Jams Perfected

This is an entry in an ongoing series for 303 Magazine, which will provide a range of local album reviews. It is our intention to highlight the talents of local musicians, whether veterans to the industry or newcomers. Like the bands, the album can be fresh or something we just haven’t had the power to take off repeat in the past few months. Check out previous entries in the series here.

Music is one of the only things we, as a community, can hold on to right now. Luckily, Denver has bands like Cycles to feed us quarantine tunes while we wait for live music to become a commonplace activity again. Their latest release, Summer Dress, is a short but tasty EP that shines a light on the future season and sounds to come. Summer Dress is out through Color Red Music, a local studio, record label and more that assists many Denver bands founded by the New MastersoundsEddie Roberts.

It’s always interesting when you go so long without releasing something because we play a lot shows in between, so a lot has happened,” Patrick Harvey, Cycles’ vocalist and guitarist, explains about their new album, which Cycles recorded with SunSquabi and Analog Son’s Josh Fairman. I love walking into a home studio run by someone who has a band. He’s  [Fairman] constantly making his music sound better and other people’s music sound better. I love being around that because that is all I think about all day. We nailed this thing in four or five hours.

We played the songs as we do on stage and improved as we do on stage. It’s just better when people aren’t taking things so seriously. Recording can be hell. If there is a guy there who can make you laugh and help you get out of your head, it makes all the difference.” The recording reflects this relaxation and the uplifting music creates a perfect treat for the time we are all spending indoors. 

Summer Dress kicks off with a powerful beat from drummer Collin O’Brien on “Robot’s Breath.” Heavy voices chant and sing out lyrics about staring at a phone and allowing devices to take over. The statement and mechanical beat work as operatives setting the pace for the album. “The Key” comes next and keeps up the motorized and hard feeling that aligns with the first track. Summer Dress as an EP is new, but tracks like “The Key” are not. “I wrote [“The Key”] a few years ago, and we used to play it a lot,” Harvey reminisces on the song. “It fell out of our repertoire because there are a lot of different parts. That one has been really fun.” “Summer Dress” begins broken off from the rock of the aforementioned songs, and pushes the EP into a jam hazy turned funk party. “I think ‘Summer Dress’ is my favorite song that Tucker [McClung] has written,” continues Harvey. “When he started playing he was into heavier rock, and it’s really cool to see him write a more light and uplifting song.

“The Clock” stays lifted, serving aa a dance hall sing-a-long melted with fierce solos and a bass line to pump the heart of any crowd. In fact, Harvey states the track has been a highlight of his music career to perform. “Sunrise” closes up the five-track run, simmering down the tempo and releasing the listener back down to Earth to begin again. The final chapter on Summer Dress showcases each member’s space and serves as a complex flavor in a simple, balanced meal.

Cycles has curated a reputation of consistent high-quality jams, and Summer Dress is a prime addition to their list. The band is dedicated and working hard to bring more sounds to our isolated ears and we can’t wait. Listen to their discography here, and don’t miss their live shows when they return to the stage.