A year after We Are The In Crowd announced their hiatus, Tay Jardine returns with a new project, SAINTE, and a colourful new EP called smile, and wave. With 7 songs on it, this new release is a buoyant, irrepressible reminder of what makes Jardine a great singer. Jardine is backed up in SAINTE by two members of her former band, guitarist Cameron Hurley and bassist Mike Ferri, but it’s immediately apparent that this is no simple continuation of the previous group.
After putting out an EP and two records with We Are The In Crowd – Best Intentions and Weird Kids – Jardine found herself in the unusual place of starting over at an age when many successful musicians are just starting to see the fruits of their labour. Following up a popular first band with a new project can be an intimidating endeavor, but Jardine describes it as a chance to start fresh, saying of the decision to form SAINTE, “there was nothing to live up to and it was really easy for me, and completely liberating.”
This attitude is borne out in the resulting sound of the new EP, which exchanges pop-punk for a gloriously unabashed and unmitigated pop sound. ‘Technicolor’ is a bright, sparkly ode to falling in love which mimics the headlong euphoria of the feeling with its soaring melody. Here, as throughout the EP, clever wordplay abounds with Jardine singing, “I’m counting: one of the reasons to adore you, three words on my lips for you only.”
It’s not all crystal-clear sky on the EP, though, which keeps its sugary sound from tipping into sickly saccharine. On ‘With or Without Me’ the contrast between the song’s cheerful sound and its vindictive lyrics makes it all the more delicious. “You can’t get under my skin, but I get stuck in your head. In case you didn’t notice, I’ve been living there since I left”, Jardine sings, and being a little bitter never tasted so sweet.
‘If You Ever Feel Alone’, a hugely danceable anthem about rising above your struggles and finding a voice, closes out the record on a high note. Recorded with producer Tommy English, smile, and wave is a thoroughly fun, summer-ready record, best played loud and sung along to enthusiastically.