Saturday, March 5, 2011

98 The Hard Way: EPs, Day 5

Three Mile Pilot / Boilermaker: Split 7" (Slowdance)
The endpoint of Three Mile Pilot's evolution far as I'm concerned. From here you can see where both Pinback and The Black Heart Procession's sounds came out of much more clearly than you can see the past of 3MP. I'm not sure if this was the last thing that they released chronologically, but "In This Town I Awaken" certainly has an air of finality to it, almost the musical equivalent of the group saying 'Where else can we go with this?' without it coming off as defeatist. It's not their best song of this era mind you, but as a final statement it has a lot of weight to it.

Boilermaker just reprise a track from their self-titled album here, but I can't quibble with that choice given that "Last on the Drive" was one of the better tracks they'd done on the whole. [7.7/10]
Electric Wizard: Supercoven (Bad Acid)
I think that the EP format is perfectly suited for Electric Wizard. A thirty minute dose of their trademark early-Melvins meets Sabbath sludge is pretty much perfect while the full lengths that I've heard from them get rather trying after a while. So here you get the ideal dosage and some of the highest quality shit that they've come up with at this point as both the title track and "Burnout" are hypnotic slices of Doom Metal with enough interesting things going on in the background to reward a closer listen without a bong in your hand. "Burnout" especially features a nice array of guitar texture behind the main section's incessant bass riff and pounding drums. [8.4/10]

Download link courtesy of Stonerobixxx
Ganger: With Tongues Twisting Words (Domino)
"With Tongues Twisting Words" is on a shortlist of my favorite tracks in the field of post-rock mainly because it never fails to change itself up at increasingly frequent intervals, yet remains the same song at its core for its entire 9 minute run. It's not a case where the song you hear at minute 9 is so far removed from the song you started with that you question whether it was meant to be one song, but one where the band manages to progress through a variety of stages and sounds while keeping in mind that it's a single composition. Sure it wades through bass-heavy jazz, U.S. Maple-like guitar, clockwork full band grooves, wurlitzer (?) imbued quasi-funk and the straight ahead GvsB gone epic sound that Ganger perfected on the EPs leading up to this one, but it all flows together so well that it's actually easier to look at it as one piece as opposed to several. It's a feat that they never quite repeat on the rest of this EP, but it's enough to keep my opinion of them high through the remaining tracks.

To be fair though, even without the high watermark set by its opener, With Tongues Twisting Words is still a marked improvement over both the material that made up the previous year's Fore compilation and the band's initial full length from later the same year. The songs are much closer to the style of the latter, but seem to condense the wide ranging influences that showed up all over it into a much tighter, compressed package, and while it lacks the sprawl of Hammock Style it more than makes up for it in terms of songcraft. The band's dual bass line up allows for a lot of interesting counter-riffing in that department, and the two basses maintain enough of a different tone - one warm and expressive, the other low and rumbling - that they don't murk up the mix too much. Add in some nice guitar texture coloring the margins and solid time keeping and you've got the recipe for some stellar, groove oriented instrumentals. Even the few occasions that vocals enter the fray, they're subtle enough to work into the songs' mood without stealing the show as it were. [8.8/10]

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