Imagine if a band just set out to write and record a few great songs. No gimmicks. No frills. Almost a throwback, if you will, to before artists became slaves to genres, scenes and gimmicks.

That is exactly what Thousand Oaks’ Goodnight Kiss accomplished with its debut EP, Abandon Ship. And for that reason alone it is one of the better local releases of the year.

The EP’s opener, “River Bends,” is simply a straightforward rock song, and its simplicity is what makes it so good. It’s well-written, -performed and -recorded — not to mention that it has an incredible hook in the chorus. These days that’s a breath of fresh air.

The closer, “Float,” is a beautiful, chill-out, 1970s California rock ballad that could easily fit on a Jackson Browne or Eagles record.

Now here’s where things get interesting. The band has also released two separate singles this year, “Cherries” and “Candy Store,” which literally sound as if they were written by a different band altogether. The two singles have a much more, dare we say, modern hipster slant, which doesn’t seem to fit nearly as well as this tremendous EP.

It’s going to be very interesting to see where the band ends up on its debut full-length, which is due out next year. That question alone makes this a local band to definitely keep an eye on. It could be something really special.

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