I would expect an EP with the word “Basement” in the title, recorded by the band members themselves, to be a sparse sketch of a few songs. But the title, I soon learned, was referring elsewhere, and the instrumentation on Sybil’s five debut tracks is lush and well-rounded without going overboard.
The EP opens on a pop note, with “Dream” showcasing the band’s sweet airy harmonies sweeping around lead vocalist Tesia Rhind. Whether delicately quavering among the group or soaring solo, Rhind’s range and expression pull the compositions together gently, like a silk ribbon.
Sibyl moves into more playful melodies and singsong rhymes in “Half Moon”; the band is well at home in the field of folk. “Skipping Stones” begins on a sparser note, with carefully plucked strings, before dancing deftly back into lush vocal swells. The final track, “April Showers,” delves into the eerier side of Sybil’s sensibilities as haunting vocals and a cascading piano line emerge through a curtain of falling rain.
The title track, “Basement Sounds,” is a love song to music itself. While it may ring saccharine to some, it is a clear homage to the refuge that many find in music and sound. Beneath any cynical mask, what music lover won’t see themselves in the refrain, “Find escape in music / That no one can defeat”?
Find their EP at bandsibyl.bandcamp.com, and catch them live on Jan. 17 at the Park Theatre as part of the Uniter Fiver Showcase.