I think this one would definitely have to filed under ‘grower’ – both in terms of the number of times I had to play the whole EP before I actually ‘got it,’ and also the way each individual track slowly builds, only showing its full hand in the second stanza.
It would be too easy to draw comparison, especially on the opening track, ’If You Pass Me By,’ with the likes of Arcade Fire – but you know me… anything for an easy life! It’s probably the piano arpeggios that do it. That said, the atmosphere of the track slightly echo’s Springsteen’s ‘Nebraska’ album. The video is posted below, so there’s not much point in saying any more ….. except that if it doesn’t make any immediate impact, then press the ‘replay’ button – your patience will be rewarded.
‘Call To Prayer,’ has a bit of a modern blues feel to it as it rocks along with little synth ‘farts’ combining with the constant ‘clip clop’ of the cowbell to give a distinct ‘stomping’ beat, while the opening deep piano sets a dark tone. This is followed by ‘Mariner’s Wife’ which changes the mood once again. Although again upbeat and bouncy, it reflects more of a folky base (or maybe that should be sea-shanty) it relates the tale of a retired navy captain who left his post to marry the woman he loved. She now lives under his shadow, having more or less lost her own identity and is now referred to simply as the ‘Mariner’s Wife.’ Deep!
Closing track ‘What Happened At The Estuary’ is another one of those songs that create images in the mind of the listener. It’s upbeat in tempo, but I think a little cold in he imagery. The music heavily features some lovely Hammond organ and as with all the tracks, strong, controlled and melodic vocals.
‘Lean Season’ EP is certainly not the most ‘instant’ record I’ve heard this year. But maybe that’s the problem right there: ‘instant’ songs are ‘heard,’ while intelligent, quality songs need to be actively ‘listened’ to.
Perhaps we – myself included – should not always be looking for instant gratification.
(Released through Smoky Carrot Records on 6th June 2011)