Four brilliant new songs recorded in the studio are complemented by two live recordings of solo performances by frontman John Roderick. The band's first release since 2003's acclaimed album, When I Pretend To Fall, this EP is the preface to a new full-length due next year. Barsuk. 2005.
Seattle-based smartypants rock group the Long Winters leap into a less indie-rock void on this excellent EP. Imagine a swarthier and keyboard-driven Death Cab
, or a less mournful Eels
wrapped up in Mellotron goodness. While some fans might still bemoan the lack of funnyman Sean Nelson's presence in the band, Laura Veirs' producer Tucker Martine helps Roderick achieve a new greatness. As Rodericks's charming and idiosyncratic voice becomes ever more central to the Long Winters' music, so do his lyrics. They're a beguiling combination of post-collegiate songster poetry ("Crave translates into slave, no one can harness the rain"), post-Pavement
slacker nonsequitur ("The weight of this hairstyle's making me lazy") and post-marijuana sci-fi treatment ("I won't eat a machine / But what if it asks me? / What if it says my name?") The twenty-five minute EP ends with two tracks of Roderick performing solo. It's all pretty great. --Mike McGonigal