Monday, April 11, 2011

The Appleseed Cast — Middle States EP

Well, I guess I should air out my bias before we even get going here: it should be no secret that the Appleseed Cast is one of my favorite bands by this point. Let's just get this out of the way right now: a four star review for them is like a twenty eight star review for review for anyone else. So yeah, they're at least seven times better than your favorite band.

With the first three tracks on this thing, they perfectly recapture the endless song cycle mood of Low Level Owl.

Simultaneously, they have combined the catchy, riffy aspect of Peregrine.

So, basically, they have successfully figured out a way to perfect their craft.

'End Frigate Constellation' sounded like a puzzle the first time I heard it when they played it live, but I clearly remember the "Waiting for the night" lyric and thinking to myself, "That's where the song will come together on record."

And, sure enough, there it is.

Followed by a full-on assault of warm distortion. Awesome.

The 'Interlude' ties it together with the EP's title track and I can't even say right now what I really think of that song. When they played it live (and when I heard it for the first time), I got goosebumps. A downright jangly foundation and truly relevant observation on "Growing older" combine atop a decidedly 'new' approach to an Appleseed Cast song and I'm sold. After numerous listens through the EP, I'm convinced it's one of the best things they've ever done. It's an incredible song; we'll just leave it at that.

The last track, 'Three Rivers', is a fifteen minute instrumental epic that is surprisingly devoid of any real buildup. Instead, it's way more Krautrock in its philosophy as it feels more like a restrained jam than an actual composition. Still, these guys could just jam for three hours and it would probably be, at the very least, an interesting curiosity of a recording. If releasing tapes of jam sessions is what it takes for them to finally become prolific, then so be it. My least favorite of the new material, but still worth hearing every time.

I like 'Three Rivers', but there's a reason the proper songs are up front. Those two songs on their own would've made for a seriously tantalizing seven inch single. But leave it up to these guys to bridge the songs with a super heady (yet still, completely valid) between song noise bit and an extended noodle of a song and make the whole package sound cohesive and like a piece unto itself. Even a barely thirty minute EP becomes an engaging, rewarding listen every single time with this band.

If nothing else, this officially has my expectations for their next album in the exosphere — as if said expectations weren't high enough already. Just hearing that their new material actually has the potential to be better than what preceded it —with the exception of the title track, which is already there— is confirmation enough that they are, without question, one of the best bands in the world.

Heroically good.

Right fucking on.


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