Smile Politely

Review: Coed Pageant’s Rumspringa

Coed Pageant, the side project of The Palace Flophouse, is back with another addition to its Season EPs series, Vol. 2: Rumspringa. Just as Vol. 1: Winter Blitz so perfectly captured the gloominess of winter, this new EP does an equally fantastic job of epitomizing springtime and the adventure-hungry, youthful spirit that it brings out in people. But it is not all fun and games. Rumspringa sifts through the emotional shit storm that is growing up. Wanting to get away, falling in love, feeling rejected, trying something just because everyone else is; you name it, Coed Pageant covers it in its new EP. 

Reflecting on the second installation of the Seasons EPs series, I couldn’t help but think that the idea of creating songs to reflect a season can come off as pretty reductive. Winter sounds sad. Spring sounds happy. The coming summer EP might sound extra joyous, and the fall EP might dip back down into the sounds of seasonal depression. Yet, Coed Pageant executes the project in a way that doesn’t make the idea sound canned. Fear not, skeptics. This series is more than snow, flowers, sweltering heat, and colored leaves.

The album’s namesake is a Pennsylvania Dutch term that literally translates to “to run around.” The term refers to the period in an Amish youth’s life that begins at age 16 when they are permitted to experiment with the modern world. Rumspringa ends when these youths choose to either remain in the Amish church, or leave their community. Coed Pageant’s track “We Run Around (Rumspringa)” paints a similar scene with lyrics telling of a couple of 17-year-olds’ foray into rebellion, using their parents’ cash to fill the gas tank and hitting the road. Shakers used for percussion and a sweet piano melody makes the song swoon like a lullaby.

“All The Kids On Black Street” follows the title track. The song is a fun jam about teenagers and young adults experimenting with “something they can get confused on,” as Coed Pageant so aptly puts it. Aggressive acoustic strumming sets the tone for the song. The lyrics call, “All the kids on Black Street are trying out new things.” What those new things are exactly, the band leaves the listeners to fill in the blanks. Whether it’s sex, drugs, or rock ‘n’ roll, I sensed that the emphasis is on a polarity between wanting to try something new or forbidden, and being pressured to do so. The premise of trying new things can be simultaneously nerve-wracking and exciting, and the song captures those potent emotions so well. A feeling of youthful naiveté is embodied in the lyric: “And they swear it’s gonna free us to have an even closer walk with Jesus. They say, ‘We’ve got nothing to lose, and everything to gain.’”

“Instrumental 2” provides a nice segue from “All The Kids on Black Street” with a playful pace and occasionally dissonant chords. The result sounds nothing short of magical. Songs like “I Will Wait” and “Young (But Not Too Young)” close out the album with reflections on young love wrapped in fun, upbeat tempos.

The EP is incredibly short, with a total time just short of 12 minutes. Rumspringa’s brevity makes it perfect to listen to all the way through during your first cup of coffee in the morning, or on the quick walk to class or work.

If you like what you’ve read or heard from the streaming player below, you can check out Coed Pageant when they play at Mike ‘N Molly’s on May 10th with Easter, Comfort Food, and Schwervon.

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