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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
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Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
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The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
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Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Warmed Up EP
Melted Snow Records

Rating: 8/10 ?

October 1, 2004
There is an undeniable Northern European thing going on here. Mogwai is evident right from the beginning, with some television dialogue sounds sampled into the first few minutes of "I'll be the judge of that". I wouldn't say that Saso are ripping Mogwai off, but they do resemble the islanders quite often over these five songs. If you took Mogwai's sound and shed a few layers of guitar work and replaced it with Labradford's more mid-tempo, melodic sense of space you would be parked right next to Saso. There are not many dynamics to speak of, but there is a steady sense of beauty. Even if they were ripping off Mogwai, which I still say they aren't, it would be a welcome listen. The whole reason so many bands end up emulating the American post-punk sound is that it is easy to do. The reason there are so few bands like Mogwai, Arab Strap, et cetera, is because what they are doing, although usually minimalist in dynamic terms, is terribly complex and intricate in its development, and even more disciplined in its delivery. When you listen to a track like "Numbskull" you realize that there isn't much there, that it is totally skeletal, but you also get a feeling for the huge restraint that must also be attached to such a stoic meandering, and the beauty of what is there becomes more apparent through the realization of what is not. The closer, "All My Life", echoes the piano that was seemingly abandoned in the opening "(Introduction)" and further substantiates the argument that there is a hell of a lot of talent floating languidly through this EP.

There is so little information with this release that it is a bit frustrating. The email I received from the label, the poorly named Melted Snow, was from "Jim&Andy", whom I assume, from the scant text in the single folded piece of print work, to be Jim Lawler and Andy Inglis. Lawler apparently provides the vocals which are subdued but very sweet and warming, generally well done and excellent within the compositions. The vocals do push to the forefront when used (albeit sparsely) but more so as an instrument of pitch set against the dark background than as a voice.

At just under twenty minutes, this EP is entirely too short for the interest it piques, but I have found a simple solution to the problem - the often misused REPEAT button on the CD player. I successfully listened to these five songs in a looping sequence for over two hours the other day. The songs don't necessarily feed into each other, but there is some semblance of a sequence going on and the first and fifth tracks serve as a connecting mirror that renders the SHUFFLE/REPEAT option a bit less rewarding than simply cycling the album over and over.

Again, there is a solid, unavoidable line drawn directly from Saso to Mogwai, but it doesn't prevent them from being wholly credible and enjoyable. I have no idea how you can order a copy of this EP outside of the UK but if you find a way to get it, don't pass up the opportunity. Get in on the ground floor of what could be an 8+ rating at Pitchfork someday.

Reviewed by Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other reviews by Eric J Herboth



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