Yep, everyone's favorite reverb merchants have a new EP's worth
of material on the shelves. Which is good, in the general sense
of the word. But one must be forthright if one is maintain any
semblance of critical respect from his peers, and in being forthright
one must warn the potential consumer of the downfalls of said
EP. It's called Noon Under the Trees, and it's
not terribly bad by any means. It's just not particularly good,
in the specific sense of the word, and at over $2 per song,
it's not really worth the asking price. Maybe if the third track,
I Don't Eat Sweets, wasn't so abysmally bad it would
be worth it. But man, that song reeks.
Tracks one and two, These Starving Heartists and To
Lady Ben and All Her Friends respectively, are solid enough.
Not the best of The R*A*Ts catalogue, but good enough to bear
repeated listens. Track four, a song called Inseparable,
would be filler on a full length, which doesn't bode well for
its inclusion on such a short release, but it's not bad. The
final track is a pretty good song. It stands well with the best
songs off of last year's Sweet
Bird of Youth, at least, though not so well against
better, older songs.
Which leaves us with four songs of merit and one four track
recording session that somehow avoided its rightful place in
the trash bin. That's $2.50 per listen able song, which doesn't
even take into consideration the opportunity costs of having
to deal with track three. Factor in those and you're up to something
like $3.00 per decent tune. That's a bit much to ask, if you
ask me. Which is sad. I think the EP is a terribly underused
platform, and I think The Rock*A*Teens, as much as any band
around, are perfectly suited to exploit the EP's unique formula
by writing three or four very solid songs, somewhat interrelated,
and releasing them as a short work.
Unfortunately Noon Under the Trees doesn't quite
fulfill that notion.