EP Review: Couch Cult – Couch Cult
Couch Cult project was started by three friends, improvising in a basement during the strange and sad COVID pandemic times. Their debut self-titled EP was produced by Winton Josephs from Atlanta. It's an emotional and sonic capsule that blurs the borders between hopefulness and doubt, between imaginary and real.

Introducing the EP is the instantly captivating opener "Psilo," which first made its entrance as a standalone single back in May. This particular piece artfully draws parallels between the shifted perceptions brought about by psilocybin and the experience of isolation — both in the physical realm and within one's thoughts.

Noteworthy are the moments in the chorus, where vocals take on an intriguing alternation, seamlessly transitioning from a velvety-smooth quality to an emotionally charged, raw intensity. This employs a clever contrast between the notions of flying and falling, underlining the uncanny resemblance between moments of triumph and setback, advocating for a mindset that values the path over fixating on eventual results.

Adding to the musical landscape are the ethereal textures of the guitar, which coexist in a harmonious juxtaposition with the liveliness of the bassline — an active element that injects the composition with energy.

Continuing with the journey through the EP, we encounter the second track, "Woodstock '99". The song taps into the reservoir of nostalgic energy drawn from observing the documentaries from the ill-famed festival that gave its name to the track.

The standout part of the composition are the subdued raw guitar tones that sound like muffled echoes of the music from the Nu Metal era that inspired the song. In a manner reminiscent of the opener, the vocals here exhibit emotional versatility, enhancing the feeling of being torn between the poles of "optimism and doubt", as described by the band.

The next song "Tragedy" is probably the catchiest on the EP, melodically and groove-wise. The vocals here are lulling and intimate, and the guitar textures are even more resonant and ghostly. This creates a feeling of walking through mist or inside a cave, where nothing is what it seems, like in life itself. This is reflected in the song's lyrics, poetically speaking of our tendency to idealize the past, making it harder to move on into the future.

"Smile, baby" is beautifully disorienting. The head-spinning sound effects and artful use of reverberation, especially on the vocals, continue building an illusionary world that we first encountered in the previous track. Is the smile sincere of fake? Does it even matter if our mind keeps playing tricks on us – now, before, and in the future that the song feel so optimistic about?

The EP closes with "Synthetic" that features the rawest vocals and the most straightforward production on the EP. The bass is pulsing, the drums are grooving steadily, with an almost drum-machine-like quality. The song's energy feels like an urge to wake up from the imaginary universe masterfully built by the band on this sonically and thematically cohesive EP, taking influences from Dream Pop, Soul and classic Psychedelic Rock.