Nearly four minutes of the 10 that comprise Summertime, the debut EP by Chapel Hill's T0W3RS, are a cover of "Summertime," Lonnie Walker's incandescent country tune about growing old and neurotic. Over a keyboard drone, cycles of noise and guitars that stretch and slice the melody of the original into irregular strands, Derek Torres handles the text faithfully, his voice finding an appropriate intersection between Isaac Brock and David Lowery. It would seem that an EP dominated and led by a reverent cover wouldn't merit much notice, but T0W3RS' choice here is as telling as it is promising. This strong song serves as an anchor for the band's willful clash of the traditional and modern, with deliberate, diligent guitar lines contrasting smartly with the kind of playful keys and skittering electronic drums that tug this tale of anxiety back into youthful mirth.
That feeling of exploration carries over into the EP's final three tracks, each of which are shorter than the first. For a minute, "Over & O'Ver (& Over AGAIN)" winds a plaintive entreaty from Torres through a web of effects and above simple threads of piano and drums. It exits in a spiral of distorted guitar that serrates the simple melody into jagged bits. This somehow serves as a fitting transition into "Sparrow, Don't Wait for All the Things in Youth," a cleverly garbled idea for electronic pop. The tape's other bookend—a forlorn acoustic builder named "Versailles"—appropriately spotlights the other aspect of T0W3RS with an honest-to-goodness ballad. Again, as the opener proves, somewhere between these poles, T0W3RS suggest a special, multivalent magic.