An energizing and effervescent introduction, Sawyer’s EP ‘Less Than More Than’ is a buoyant record glistening with guitar-driven indie pop prowess.
Stream: ‘Less Than More Than’ EP – Sawyer
There’s no hiding with this one – every risk we took is loud and clear. Lyrically and sonically, each song tells you exactly who it is and why it’s here.
Emma Harvey’s quote couldn’t better summarize the boldness, vulnerability, and passion lying at the heart of her band’s new EP. There’s always some exciting electricity to be felt when a group finds themselves – that IT! moment – and the shock ricochets off the chart’s in Sawyer’s Less Than More Than EP, a buoyant record glistening with guitar-driven indie pop prowess.
do we wanna play it safe
are we both afraid
that we might start an ending
we fight the beginning
but then your hands brush mine
on accident, for the seventh time
I act like it’s not on my mind
you’re moving in closer, closer, closer
CH we didn’t mean to mean something
but this means something mhmmm
– “Mean Something,” Sawyer
Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering Sawyer’s new EP Less Than More Than, out October 25, 2019. The self-described “friend rock” duo of best friends Kel Taylor and Emma Harvey, Sawyer formed in 2015 at Belmont University and have been making waves ever since. With over five million streams on Spotify, the band are releasing their first EP amidst the growing hype of its lead single “Emotional Girls,” and in anticipation of a 29-date tour opening up for Jon McLaughlin this fall.
With a bright, enthusiastic pop sound similar to HAIM, COIN, The Aces, and Your Smith, Sawyer’s music is melodic, rich in harmony, and unapologetically smart. Their alluring creativity shines bright in “Emotoinal Girls,” released last month to considerable acclaim and applause. Highlighting gender discrimination against women, the song follows a male protagonist dismissing the antagonistic women around him for being “emotional girls.” A rallying cry anthem, this song reminds us misogyny is far from dead, and that we must be fighting negative stereotypes and tropes every day:
He thinks his mom is crazy
And his girlfriend’s insane she
Always wants him to say things
Like calling her baby
Tells her get some sleep
When she’s trying to keep
A conversation that goes too deep
And now he’s eating alone
With the glow his phone
This is just how it goes
Another love for the shelf
But he tells himself
It’s not me, it’s all these
Keep asking me to listen
Try to talk before I kiss em
Biting back when I dismiss em
Oh its not me, it’s all these
– “Emotional Girls,” Sawyer
An exciting start for Sawyer’s first-ever extended player, “Emotional Girls” sets the scene for the rollicking riffs, pulsing grooves, and dazzling harmonies that run rampant across Less Than More Than. Whether it’s the slower, moody “Older Now” and its expression of growth and change, the bouncy and intimate confessional “Know Me,” or the intoxicating synthy-sweet “Mean Something,” Sawyer succeed at delivering a cohesive yet diverse set of songs that keep us hooked from beginning to end. When the finale finally does come in the form of “I Don’t Know How To,” listeners are exposed to a particularly tight series of vocals radiating off an urgent guitar/synth blend that leaves us feeling refreshed and ready for so much more.
According to Kel Taylor, Less Than More Than marks the moment when everything really fit together for Sawyer. “Making this record felt like that moment in high school when you try on an outfit in the dressing room and for the first time think, ‘Yep. That’s me,’” she tells Atwood Magazine. Like a massive puzzle piece full of different shapes and colors, Sawyer’s EP fits disparate motifs together under one slickly cohesive roof. Sometimes the pair bask in the fuzzy feelings of an intimate crush; at other moments, they’re on the front lines of gender inequality fights, asserting themselves in a blaze of hot pop glory.
No matter what you ultimately take away from this record, one thing is resoudingly true: Sawyer gave their all to this music, and out of that effort comes an energizing, effervescent collection of inspiring songs ready to get us through our days and nights.
Experience the full record via our exclusive stream, and peek inside Sawyer’s Less Than More Than EP with Atwood Magazine as the band provide their personal take on the music and lyrics of their latest x!
Stream: ‘Less Than More Than’ EP – Sawyer
:: Inside Less Than More Than ::
Kel: I set up my best friend with a guy who blamed everything on her emotions… which is, and I can’t emphasize this enough, LAME. This song is for her and anyone else who has felt dismissed or written off because they’re in tune with their emotions.
Emma: It’s the only song on the project that was written by just the two of us. It was tricky to walk the line between making a point and being overly aggressive, so we leaned into a sarcastic/tongue-in-cheek lyric to light-heartedly – but emphatically – point out the truth. We hope this song helps those who need to feel understood and stretches those who want to understand.
Kel: The first line of the chorus might be my favorite of the whole EP and we did nothing to earn or work up to it. It just showed up like the mailman – like it was just casually passing through or something. In those moments, all you can do is blow a kiss to the rock gods that handed you the words, and then run with them as fast and far as you can.
Emma: That line really became the DNA of the song. Over two days Rocky Block (a genius writer) and I drove most of the musical operation while Jeff Garrison (another Nashville genius) and Kel chased down the lyrics.
Kel: For a long time I referred to revisiting old relationships as “sifting through the graveyard” which was really just a fun, sneaky way to shame myself for entertaining any warm or nostalgic feelings about a past relationship. We hope that this song frees some people up from that kind of thinking. It would be a serious waste of all that love and pain if I didn’t take the second (and third) look back to see how it contributed to the whole of who I am now.
Emma: Word. Older Now celebrates the gift of carrying traces of people with you without “carrying a flame” for them.
Kel: One of our favorite co-writers Andrew Tufano had just bought an absurd amount of nail polish. Emma and I were testing them out with Annika Bennet, another fave writer, for the first hour of the write when Emma started describing the overwhelming feeling she’d recently had when people asked how she was doing. Not because she was unwilling to let someone in on the good or bad or whatever, but because she herself was unsure of what there was to be let in on. “Know Me” is about the cart-before-the-horse task of trying to let someone else know you before you know you.
Emma: We’re both still learning that it’s the solo practice of honest writing, meditation, prayer, or reflection that leads to more fulfilling connection with other people. This was the longest and most meaningful write because it took extended pauses of all four of us staring at the floor, waiting for the honest truth to come out.
Kel: We’d like to argue that whatever age, whatever phase of life, whatever maturity level – no one outgrows the symptoms of a crush. Middle schoolers and middle agers alike know the electric shock of the casual mid-conversation-arm-touch. This song is for everyone who is waiting in the purgatory of “a little bit less than more than friends” and reading into everything.
Emma: We wish you clarity, directness, and a lack of games; but until then, read on! It might mean something!
I Don’t Know How To
Kel: This song is just an elaborate way of saying “oh god I am doing a really bad job at this.” We’d just graduated from college and were constantly out of town for shows. When we were in town, all of our time was spent in rehearsals or writes or sessions. Looking back I think it was the non-stop nature of it all that started to distort our perspective of our own importance.
Emma: We disappointed a lot of friends and sometimes didn’t even realize it. More often than not I was floating above my conversations with friends, thinking about things I needed to do. So we wanted the song to both sonically and lyrically embrace the tension between knowing you’re off course and being scared of what you might lose if you get back on. “I’m never around keep letting you down, but if I slow now am I gonna drown.”
Kel. Needless to say it was hard to write! It’s truly frightening how quickly greed can start running (and ruining) your life. We’re not naive enough to think we’re totally over it, but we definitely have a better grasp on our priorities.
Stream: ‘Less Than More Than’ EP – Sawyer
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? © Daniel Chaney
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