New Sounds: Seattle’s Kuinka seamlessly blend emotion and styles on eccentric ‘Stay Up Late’ EP

This week, New England and the Pacific Northwest are experiencing a bit of kismet. Both regions are shaking off the music festival hangover — Sasquatch out in Washington State, and Boston Calling here at Harvard — and as a result, our collective minds are still out somewhere in an open field, dancing to live music and feeling the magnetic, emotional effects of springtime.

So it’s impossible to listen to Stay Up Late, the eccentric and eclectic new EP from Kuinka, and not daydream about the Seattle-ish quartet’s lush, genre-defying sounds filling that fresh festival air.

Stay Up Late, officially out Friday (June 2), is a fascinatingly jubilant record with distinct personalities, with its four tracks providing an electronic jolt into modern folk and Americana, while also waltzing along the grooved edges of dream-pop, synth-pop, and Brooklyn’s mid-aughts guitar-rock revival. It’s also one uplifting mother of a record, packed with creative fits and bursts.

Maybe that’s why we want to be out in a field dancing to it.

“Our biggest goal as a collective of musicians is to infuse everything we do with a sense of joy and to affect positive change in the world to the best of our ability,” Kuinka’s Miranda Zickler tells Vanyaland when asked about the band moniker, which translates to “how” in Finnish. “Specifically, we want to encourage others to be compassionate and excitable — we’re not fans of the trend of apathy, and we want to make it cool to love things and help others. As one might imagine, that in itself is a lofty goal and we’re figuring out the best ways to achieve it as we go.”

One way is by creating a record with a real sense of sincerity, but also one that’s remarkably fun and vibrant. “Our natural state of writing has usually come out as pop music; we think there’s something really beautiful in simplicity and joy and doing what makes you feel good without over-complicating it too much,” Zickler adds. We’re big fans of lots of cerebral kinds of music but that’s never been who we are as writers or musicians — we all learned our instruments by ear and, like with most things, are generally figuring it out as we go.”

Listen to the Stay Up Late EP below, and give it a few repeated listens for enhanced effect. Featured Kuinka photo by Jeremiah Adrick.

Kuinka Flyer