"The Terror" on the A-Side, starts out with a buried bossanova sounding organ beat, like something from the Maya Tone on Arise Therefore off in the distance. I like when the mechanics like this are exposed, maybe just for a metronome, but then kind of disregarded, exiled to the back of the track eventually overrun by live recorded drums. I like that contrast on something understated like this. It's sort of putting that mode of production in it's place...keep the beat, or function in the demo, but I also need a human. A first just Hilal and a guitar, the piece quickly expands, and I love the almost disappearing falsetto vocal dealing with all these terrors. Loneliness, alienation, but dealt with very specifically in the lyrics, very specific situations referred to that are still universal and maybe are real terror, because they aren't a monster or ghost...they just make you do stupid things because you're scared in the parking lot after an interview. It's all delivered in a quiet, not rushed, contemplation..while also sounding like it's all going to fall apart, he can barely express the situation without giving something of himself away. The terror chanters serve to unsettlingly sound like the choir they are...out on the lawn, in the middle of the suburban street with the trumpet layered, and distant fades the track out.
B-Sides' "Tenderness" then ups the ante with viola, cello and pedal steel. Both of these tracks are so well put together, it's hard to think of this coming off a single....they have the production of something very serious...and classic. Hilal on this track breaks the silence with that acoustic accompanied by the cello at first, which is joined by that viola...all of a sudden it's like those Nick Drake tracks that took a while to get into because of that after the fact instrumentation, the orchestral arrangements. Hilal has a pronounced room echo on his vocal here, each syllable louder than the last, mic'd right off a PA, with a really weird backup chorus of high maybe pitch shifted "Sha la la". A western slide steel changes that chorus. Lyrically, these are great tracks, he's got a real interesting writing style, packed with an insane amount of depth to a tiny paragraph, it will take a while to decipher on this one, but I think you'd keep hearing new things all the time. Eventually this one takes a turn to a '70s smooth jazz bass feel, and I would love to hear just this extended for an entire track. A classical '70's Candi Staton. The thing is, all of these changes are subtle, you don't hear them coming, it isn't abrupt. He's sneaking a lot of things that shouldn't work in here...or are overused at the very least, but it really doesn't ever go near that line. Really nice stuff. I could take a full length of this.