June Divided’s newest EP “Body Wars,” dropping on Dec. 2, shows the band further exploring the blending of pop and indie rock in songs about heartache.
Some songs have a polished pop sound, while others are angsty, grittier rock. Melissa Menago is the band’s frontwoman who guides the direction of each song, her voice varying from an edgy rasp to sugary, smooth and vulnerable.
Songs like “Take” and “Shine” showcase the band’s rock chops, with Menago’s fiery delivery being a high point on “Take.”
June Divided sound strongest, however, on the poppier songs. “I Didn’t Mind” and the title track are the two songs released so far from the EP.
“I Didn’t Mind” is an electronic-tinged song keeping with the EP’s theme of heartbreak. “I didn’t mind/The song I never really liked/Because you’re gone/And now I miss the way you sing it,” Menago sings.
The title track is spacey and light. Menago’s voice is most vulnerable on the song, any remnants of her rough-around-the-edges delivery from the previous tracks are gone.
“Why can’t the head and the heart just get along now?” Menago wonders. The simple guitar riff repeating throughout has a calming effect.
“Firestarter” is reminiscent of Haim, an indie-pop hybrid with thumping rhythmic electronic drumming throughout.
The band gained recognition performing on the Vans Warped Tour and at South by Southwest, and in the past provided support for bands including Walk the Moon, Twenty One Pilots and The Pretty Reckless.
“Body Wars” provides a contrast to the band’s previous album “Backbone,” which features a mainstream rock sound. The band acknowledged the change in a press release, welcoming their newfound poppier side.
“‘Body Wars’ might be a different sound from us but we feel right at home with our new EP,” the band said.
The band formed when Keith Gill, drummer for June Divided, put out a Craigslist ad, leading him to meet Menago and guitarist Chris Kissel. Menago and Kissel began writing in their downtime after graduating from Drexel University. Lisa Heffernan of the Long Island Pulse joked, “In some ways, graduating from college during a recession was a good thing [for the band].”
June Divided’s name actually comes from the uncertainty Menago and Kissel felt after they graduated from Drexel.
“It marked the end of college life as we knew it and the beginning of the ‘real world.’ It was as if June was divided into these two very different chapters of our lives,” Kissel told the Long Island Pulse.
Tickets went on sale Wednesday for the “Body Wars” release show in the band’s hometown of Philadelphia on Dec. 4.
Schae Beaudoin is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.