Philly four-piece So Totally
gives listeners the ideal soundtrack for winter sadness with the release of their debut EP. Equal parts moody reverb and poetic gloom, a cheap close-up of heaven is a brutally candid depiction of unfiltered millennial feels.
Opening with the swell of “i can’t wait,” So Totally prove that not all twenty-somethings are afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves. Heightened by lyrical concision and atmospheric riffs, the song is a melodic rumination on uncertainty and intimacy. On “lead & alchemy,” the universal need to be loved takes center stage amidst crashing riffs and lines like “I want to taste the real thing, follow me home” just before the track “rare form” pairs the sincerity of early aughts emo with the unfettered intensity of mid-90s shoegaze.
Infused with well-tempered nostalgia, “rare form” is the perfect summation of both genres’ devotion to doomed love and self-loathing - two themes further explored in “late gloomer”. Brutal like a best friend’s honesty, it is a ready-made wake-up call for anyone prone to self-induced sorrow or prolonged bouts of sulking. Comprised of hissing snare and reminders like “no one cares if it’s raining out, no one cares if you hate yourself,” the song is a bitter pill to swallow, but in a good way, while “easy leave” is a grunge-y hymn about the necessity of escapism, despite its limitations, and the frustration of temporary lows. a cheap close-up of heaven ends with the somber burn of “zoetrope,” a bleak but breathtaking portrait of human closeness eclipsed by apathy, a befitting end to an EP that isn’t afraid to find light at the center of an existential abyss.
The tracks on So Totally’s debut are ready-made mantras for the New Year, a collection of anthems for realists and romantics alike. With a combination of nostalgia and sincerity, a cheap close-up of heaven might not help you live your best life, but it will make you feel less alone, giving even the staunchest pessimist a glimmer of hope. (Photo by Austin Crostarosa) - Dianca London