Cody Simpson is a pop star—but he’s not what you think. After being discovered on YouTube as a teenager and shuttled straight into big studios and opening slots for the likes of Justin Bieber, Simpson slammed on the breaks. After his second record on Warner/Atlantic, he broke with the label, launched his own imprint, and released Free 2015. Finally, he seemed to sound like himself. Free brimmed with a reggae vibe, relaxed rhythms, and the general sound of a happy-go-lucky surfer wandering the beach with an acoustic guitar. Now he’s back with a new EP, Wave One, that continues along the same path. It’s a personal record, unencumbered by major-label influence, with a breezy feel that should make the coming winter just a little warmer. An Australian with a sprig of blond hair and a swimmer’s physique—not to mention a preternatural ability to shred on guitar—Simpson is the perfect L.A. transplant, and his new music plays its role well, pulling inspiration from surf music, rock, and pop for a sound that could be played on any radio on Venice Beach.
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