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Laura Stevenson’s newest EP Runner is a short, three-track sample of her upcoming album Wheel. Priming listeners with a small taste of her newest music, the EP sets a smooth and relaxed tone to catch attention and keep it.

Runner’s title track is a lively combination of sharp guitar, toe-tapping drums, and Stevenson’s lovely voice and lyrics. She floats over notes adeptly and moves between soft and expressive in the verses and the upbeat chorus singing the simple but memorable chorus, “The summer hurts” repeated. “Runner” captures the pop quality of Stevenson’s gentle voice, proving her to be a dynamic vocalist.

“The Fire” is one of the better tracks on the EP, providing a much softer sound that magnifies Stevenson’s relaxed vocals. The delicate acoustic guitar and brushed percussion gives the track a laidback feel of a comfortable afternoon spent in a coffee shop. A subtly picked electric guitar joins the mix in the middle to pick up the pace, but it slows once more in its final notes, bringing the track to a graceful close.

Opening with somber piano and vocals, “Slouch” ends the EP with an essence of bittersweet. Stevenson has a pretty singsong moan that drags out the melody beautifully, and, coupled with a gentle vibrato, embodies melancholy. “Slouch” carries all the emotion through Stevenson’s voice, and the simplicity and brevity of this track makes it all the more powerful.

The EP shows much promise for the full length Wheel, due out April 23rd on Don Giovanni Records. Stevenson shows both power and tranquility on Runner, leaving the listener with a desire for something more. If this EP was just a taste of what is to come, then Wheel should greatly compound on what is already a solid start.

Rating: 4/5