Tuesday, 10 April 2012

 Everyone an Army
A Coastal Dance on the Grave of Romance

I know what you're thinking – that's a pretty long title for an EP. Well, yes it is; it wouldn't take Sherlock Holmes to spot that one, but don't be put off by its hipster implications. To steal a line from Richard Pryor, “they don't play that shit” - instead what's on offer is some '90s-ish alt rock with a shade of modern post-rock and progressive in the mix.

The title track stops and starts, growls and fuzzes like the best tracks of Siamese Dream, but instead of the angsty rage of Billy Corgan the overall vibe is kept somewhere left of the early Muse material. It's dramatic and drips gravitas, but remains anchored to something more earthy; this I suspect is more a function of their vocal range than a conscious decision.

Track two, 'Versailles', continues this theme – again we're faced with Pumpkins-esque guitars, but this time the vocals borrow more from Maynard's work with Perfect Circle; there's a subtle sense of harmonic depth and the way the guitars and vocals interplay is terrific. 'Venous Hum' on the other hand is more akin to Failure's second album Magnified, or perhaps cult US act Exeter. There's the same space-rock affectation as well as driving bass riffs, and the chorus has a suitably baroque charm to it; while not as storming as the previous two tracks, it's a given that there's already an audience that would love this.

Closer 'The Christmas Truce' represents a change in gear; taking a more shoegaze-indebted – and indeed noisier – approach to creating the textures leads to a muted slow-burner of a track, rife with neat melodic ideas and confluences of harmony in unexpected places. After an almost obligatory breakdown there's a great Oceansize-y section that reminds of 'Paper Champion' from the Music for Nurses EP to close.

Perhaps the only criticism that can be levelled at such a strong collection of tracks as this is whether or not the hints of leftfield development in the tracks will lead them in more abstract, experimental directions on later material. At present EAA dip their toe in the waters, but by-and-large seem content to be a well-honed alternative rock band; who knows if this will change in future.

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