While so many albums brought about by the pandemic have been fuelled, and in turn, have reflected feelings of isolation, withdrawal and malaise, Light To Waste feels like a refreshing rejection of that brand of ennui. In fact, the debut album from Summer Bruises came about in spite of said loneliness, finding life in our purest and most sacred forms of outreach: a Kijiji ad:
A lone, 30-some-odd-year female just looking to make some music,’ strangers on the Internet.
The ad was placed by Elyse Szabo, who — despite just recently engaging with Calgary’s music scene — has been writing songs since the age of 10. Among the many responses were Aaron Smelski (High Parade, Hot Little Rocket) who in turn linked Craig Clorey (drums) and Jesse McWilliams (bass), both established veterans of Canada’s sonic ecosystem.
A galvanization of Cocteau Twins’ airy vocals, Ride’s washed out guitars, and the general effervescence of the premiere groups that straddling subgenres like dream-pop or shoegaze (Beach House, Mazzy Star, etc.), Light To Waste has the feel of anthemic works twice its length. It’s an accomplished debut, sounding fully formed from its first washed-out note to its last, with notably more punch to it than what you would normally find with any of the aforementioned acts. While so many of their peers turned inwards during the darkest of times, Summer Bruises opted to find and face the sun. For that, and for Light To Waste, they should be applauded.