A career that spans six years and includes three albums, a handful of EPs, and a cult following in New Zealand and Canada, The Response are the best trans-Pacific band you’ve likely never heard. That is until now. Just like their personal lives that took them from Christchurch to Vancouver and back, Andy (vocals/guitars/loops) and Vic Knopp (vocals/glockenspiel/bass/synth/drums) have never been stagnant musically. From searing electro-rock à la The Kills to quirky alt-pop reminiscent of Yo La Tengo to fleeting dream-folk akin to Tiny Ruins, the duo have done pretty much everything. Each of their albums likewise has been varied, where no two songs sound the same. For their fourth EP, however, they’ve done something different. The Knopps have created their most focused effort with Little Worlds, which we are pleased to premiere in advance of its global release tomorrow.

At a tight four songs, Little Worlds is brooding alt-pop / electro-rock that is akin to the Aussie favorites Slum Sociable. Each track is groovy yet alluring, and all are richly textured. Percolating beats merge with chiming guitars, dark synth hues, and Andy’s distant vocals to create soundscapes that are haunting, hypnotic, and inescapable. The record’s tone is intentional to reflect the messages of lost, uncertainty, fear, and curiosity. To send us deep inside our own minds to figure out our fate and destinations, as the duo state on the title track.

Hear the entire record below. Be sure to keep all distractions at bay in order to fully experience its complexities and Andy’s mysterious stories and message. To offer some clues as to their hidden meanings, the Knopps have shared a track-by-track description, which follows the audio stream.

Little Worlds is officially out Friday, June 29th. Pre-order it on Bandcamp and iTunes or stream it on Spotify.

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Track-by-Track Description of Little Worlds

All our songs are designed to be pretty malleable when it comes to lyric interpretation, and we love that the songs mean so many different things to different people. They’ll often change for us from night to night when we play them too. That said, here are our thoughts of Little Worlds EP.

The first words we have on the EP are, “Am I floating around like an echo, like an empty sound?”. It’s a question that resonates throughout the rest of the four songs. While lyrically we use these songs to explore questions of identity, musically this is our most focused release. The musical landscape is flooded every second with a lot of great artists, and it can be hard to find your own voice with so many people shouting around you. “Empty Sound” explores the anxiety around the tension this creates.

We picked “Little Worlds” to be the name of the EP as we felt each song hung in it’s own little corner of the universe. When we wrote this song, we were thinking about how easy it is to be betrayed by your thoughts and feelings. The disconnect between what you know and what you want can be a scary thing.

“I Think I’m Changing” is an older song that we’ve been trying to figure out for a while. We’d like to think that in this life you are constantly growing and becoming a better human being. More often than not, we don’t progress as fast as we’d like, whether from outside pressures or internal distraction, looking at what could have been.

“Only in the Night” is a deep dive into the anxious mind, wrestling with thoughts of inadequacy, dreams of grandeur and the critical voice of reason. The song moves dynamically from verse to chorus in a way that captures the “Minimalist-but-Massive” sound we were going for on the EP.

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