Early & Often

Phenomenally Yours EP

Written by: TL on 28/11/2010 13:34:42

Watch out people! This is not going to be a very good review! Why? Well let me start by saying this: I don't like EP's. Of course, that's generally speaking, and there are exceptions to the rule. I am entirely down with it when an established band shuffles an EP in between LP's, when they want to explore a sound that caters more to their hardcore fans than to entire width of their audience. This has potential for greatness (see: Jimmy Eat World's "Stay On My Side Tonight EP"). However, when a band I have never heard about (and I have heard about most bands worth hearing about), sends me a three-track debút EP, it poses a challenge to me. You see, I'm meant to communicate the personality of a band in a review, and three mere tracks just doesn't give me enough to work with.

I am a stern believer in the thought that anything less than five tracks is too little (and anything more than thirteen is too much, but that's a different story). As you might imagine, my ranting about this is a direct consequence of my being tasked with reviewing Early & Often (see: band I've never heard about) and what I presume is their first ever recorded material as a band (see: three-track EP).

On their myspace, the band has donned the tags "experimental / grunge / indie", and from their EP, I can hear that they play around with similar sounds and moods as bands like Brand New and The Xcerts have done on recent records, adding in the odd-post rock element, in compositions that strike me as being both ambitious and progressive, yet also a bit loose and unfocused. You get the feeling that indeed, the band is experimenting with their sound, and maybe that's also why it all appears sort of introverted and unengaging in a 'butterfly-still-in-the-coccoon" sort of way.

My problem is that three of such songs does not a relevant record make. When a band puts out a record, it should be a milestone moment in their career, telling the listener a story of who the band is or was at one moment in time. This "Phenomenally Yours EP" is nothing like that. Rather it's a vague hint of who the band might grow into, given they put sufficient time and work into it. I will say that as such, it is a slightly tasty hint, given not only the references drawn to the front of my mind, but also the dense atmosphere of the sound on offer, and the soulfulness of the vocals. Individually however, the songs show a clear lack of memorable "fix-points", which would be okay if enough of them would come together to build a record's worth of immersive atmosphere. With a mere sixteen minutes of music however, a considerable amount of which is being spent on rather unnecessary feedback during the end of track two, that's not evident here. Think of it like this: I could've substituted this whole lengthy article with the words; "Sounds like potential, but I need more material to make worthwhile estimation of band's quality.", but I didn't try to pass that of as a review now did I?


Download: All three songs at this location
For The Fans Of: Brand New, The Xcerpts, Crime In Stereo
Listen: myspace.com/earlyando

Release Date August 2010

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