In the summer, the stubborn high humidity seems to cover Champaign-Urbana. We’re already missing fresh air, or just a summer night walk without our skin becoming sticky. While the frequent rains and storms annoy us day-to-day, Squared Donuts’ debut release Fresh Out of the Oven flows in through our ears and wipes off all the agitation and discomfort.
The Urbana-based band didn’t walk into the CU music scene until a couple months ago and they made their first successful step by impressing with their soft but vivid female-fronted vocals along with the purity and peaceful spirit embedded in the notes surrounding it. Though Fresh Out of the Oven is a live session album, if you simply close your eyes and concentrate on the music, its remained high quality directly leads you to the fantastic experience in front of the stage.
Squared Donuts sings the joy of every day’s life with only a piano, a guitar, and a frontwoman Madeline Marsan’s sweet voice. Just like the band’s name and album cover, their songs are cute as fruit candies. You understand there’s nothing too special in the ingredients, but you just couldn’t resist the songs’ brightness and fail to constrain the strong greediness of indulging for more. Listening to the third track, “Bohemian Song,” one would find nothing immediately ostentatious, but the genuine passion and happiness behind the melody make sure it sticks with you. The vocals sometimes hides themselves before suddenly popping up again. However, because of the accompanying piano, these pieces with vocal absence were connected to the track seamlessly. The nifty twists and random, yet somehow natural shifts in piano rhythm add another magical element to this track.
Squared Donuts’ amiable tune brings listeners ease and delight on these muggy days. Although the artists play in a light and unadorned style, their proficiency, passion and modest attitude behind the album decorate the lovely acoustic music.