Skipping class, smoking cigarettes, sneaking out and going to the beach, it seems like the entirety of my sophomore year was soundtracked by The Symposium. Composed of guitarist Sam, singer Charlie, drummer Brian, and bassist Benny, the Chicago bred band has been the soundtrack of my life since discovering their debut album, Drugs, released in 2014. Drugs, though released almost 3 years before their new self titled album, introduced their laid back blend of stoner pop rock.

    The Symposium, appropriately released on 4/20, took that established sound and elevated it with more developed sounds and insightful lyrics. The first of the two singles released for their new album, “Red River,” was absolutely infectious. With it’s slow tempo and sleepy vocals it conformed to the band’s previous style whilst also giving subtle hints about what the future held in store. The second single, “Synth Song” continued with the mellow feel and true to it’s name was synth heavy. Both tracks have this effortless quality that enables them to be played in any situation for any amount of time while still retaining their initial captivity.

     Accentuating the psychedelic side of the album, “Soft Love” is almost reminiscent of early Tame Impala with it’s dreamy guitars and dazed lyrics. The song ends with a distinct outro, a quality shared among most of the songs on the album. “Nino 2” has that same gossamer quality while throwing in some distorted elements. The track is an easy listen with an optimistic melody and relatable lyrics.

     “The Physical Attraction,” is the embodiment of the slacker-pop movement. With it’s disdainful lyrics urging people to “take your time, listen to the song we wrote and it could change your mind when you hear it on the radio.” The song expresses the want for a break in reality, to just play video games instead of dealing with the the complications of relationships and adulthood. Featuring high reverb and lengthy instrumentals breaks, its outro brought a more grounded, undefined element to juxtapose the dreamy tune.

     The closing track, “Starfall,” uses the trademark ethereal vocals from the psych side and some intense guitar solos. This track has this effortless cohesion that effectively showcases the best of both genres. The outro circled back to the first track “Streems,” dripping in dreamy vibes and keeping the album in a continuum of sorts.

    Sofian Zapf on Bandcamp encompasses my thoughts on this album perfectly: “holy fuck yo this shit is crazy.” It’s true, with their garage rock and dream pop the band has created the perfect casual masterpiece. Just as Drugs seems to be the background noise to all my best moments sophomore year, I know that The Symposium will hold that nostalgia soon. 



samantha sullivan