Sneaky Dee! They’ve changed, Jackson Lee. All of a sudden they’ve started a real band, and write actual songs that do more than occupy a background. Django Reinhardt, it’s a great improvement! Chive Alive and Jai Alai and a Toronto Blue Jay to you all.
But first, the music: unlike the last EP, which I didn’t actually describe, this is five fairly normal songs, in that they have guitars, basslines, choruses, normal melodies, (poorly synthesized) drums, and all that. They’re catchy and Feist has one of the nicest voices in popular music – on-key, assertive yet soothing, and the themes are nothing undeserving – jes’ look at the titles – “Grow Up and Blow Away,” “Siamese Cities,” “London Halflife,” but the whole thing veers a little close to elevator music when it misses. It’s very pop, and the synth drums make things sound a little MuchMoreMusic MuchMoreOften than necessary.
But it hits pretty often! Lead track “Grow Up and Blow Away” is a shoulda-hit late-90s-feeling pop song with a memorable chorus that goes “if this is the life / why does it feel so good to die today / blue to grey / grow up and blow away” (hee, it’s dark!), while “Siamese Cities” is a “cities and relationships” number with an early line about Little Italy that’ll make me nostalgic forever once i move in two weeks. Plus, “London Halflife” is a great departure; it’s a quick piano-led downtempo note to leave a sad taste in your mouth about, you guessed it, getting older. The other two songs are a little worse – “Down” is just bad with its annoying horn trills, and the remix of “Soft Rock Star” isn’t nearly as anthemic as it would like to be – but it has its anthemic qualities down, it just needs to be, you know, a better song.
This EP is very early-20s, a ways past stealing Dad’s liquor and going for a drive, but still in the midst of interpreting one’s first few existential crises. Getting older is still a shock, living on one’s own and realizing what one’s in for is still a surprise, and all the shops and tenements are inspirational and awful instead of quotidian and sad. I think listening to this when I’m 30 will make me very sad about more than the songs themselves.