Boston DIY favorites The Water Cycle released their third EP, Dignified and Old, on Friday.
The first track on the EP, "Bored With You," perfectly captures the lighthearted ethos of the band, while also expressing new musical and lyrical growth.
The song was written by lead singer and guitarist Joe Kerwin in a week as part of a songwriting seminar taken in his last semester of college. "Bored With You," he says, "Is about getting comfortable in a new relationship, and how that feeling is just as special as the initial butterflies."
“Our first two EPs are really focused on the excitement of meeting someone new and getting closer with someone, and all the anxieties of those kinds of moments,” Kerwin tells me. “I hoped it would be a slightly more mature take to focus on getting past all that excitement and infatuation — not that it has to die completely — and what it feels like to settle in, and how special that is too.”
Like the previous work of The Water Cycle, it’s feel-good and danceable, but with an edge that’s reminiscent of their live performances.
“I think there’s a meaningful difference between how we’ve sounded before and how this EP sounds, and for a long time I was pretty self-conscious about that,” Kerwin says. “It’s grittier or fuzzier, but now I really feel like it captures the energy of our live shows a little bit more, and it’s just exciting to be pushing in a direction that’s different.”
The group got to perform many of the songs on "Dignified and Old" at shows before the pandemic, and have been waiting for the right time to release them. Three of the four songs on the EP were recorded in Montreal in January, with the help of drummer Alex Bingham of the band Winona Forever. It’s been a long time coming for the group, who have not released new music since 2018.
“I’m just happy to get new stuff out,” drummer Jack Kerwin, Joe's brother, tells me. “Putting them out feels good, since we’ve been listening to them since January.”
The last track, “I Don’t Wanna Go Home,” was recorded more recently at the band’s apartment, with the help of Denzil Leach of Squitch and Looks Like Mountains. It was bassist Olivia Mastrosimone’s first time recording with the band.
“I really enjoyed recording that last song,” Mastrosimone says. “It felt like we were in some movie. Denzil’s recording us in the living room of our little apartment, we have our drum set in front of the TV, we were just going at it.”
The EP’s title comes from a Modern Lovers song of the same name, which serves as a contrast to their self-described “little nervous love songs.”
“I like the contrast of these four goofy love songs and this kind of fancy name, and referencing a song that’s pretty sad,” Joe Kerwin says.
At the end of the day, The Water Cycle wants us to have fun, despite the uncertainty of the world around us. That spirit is felt in every track, on their album cover — a photo of the group that was taken after five outings on a children’s ride at Canobie Lake Park — and in their dearly missed live performances, which we will hopefully get to see in the show basements of the distant future.
“We’ve all wanted things to be just fun and accessible,” Kerwin tells me. “We never want to put people on the outside or make people feel like they have to be a certain way to get it.”