Monday, July 30, 2012

The Sharp Ends first EP rereleased on Mammoth Cave

Another one from the Mammoth Cave haul Paul bestowed on me after his show with the Ketamines at Death by Audio, this one is a really amazing reissue of a four song EP from the Calgary post punk band, The Sharp Ends who sadly have already moved on...hopefully to start another project someday at least. I can't imagine guys as passionate and talented as this just selling off their equipment and riding off into the sunset.

"Broadview Pressure Test" the first track on the A-Side is raw with that simple, crunchy distortion effect on the electric and a simple, just plain elegant chord progression. Dirty and meaning busines right out of the gate. It's almost eerie even and raises the hair on the back of your next, it's so rough and it has to be because these guys have to have an insane control over whats about to come next, and they absolutely do. This power lower end groove is taken over with this bassline, Chris has a great distanced vocal matched by the energy of this blown out crashing performance...this overwhelming tension creeping up all around is genius, saving it up. It's a perfect balance of those dynamics, if you find yourself not getting enough of this massive punch in the chorus you aren't alone, they've designed this exactly to leave you feeling a little bit empty. Great call and response melodies between the bass and guitar. They've got it pretty much perfect here and I wonder if it has anything to do with that buddist question if a bands music gets better once they're not around anymore.

"Panic Button" has a great layered tone, and Chris' vocal here is going real late '80s Bauhaus, not that I hear any kind of goth vibe from these guys, it's definitely pure punk, their revved up chord progressions are incredibly unique and bores itself right into the center of the melody. They have to crank it right up and out of the park though, all jittery and post punk with a Gang of Four jagged spazz robot. Completely impressive, you remember how it sounded inspiring? Well after this one you want to just quit your own band because if these guys felt like they couldn't make it?....then forget it. Were they just too hard on themselves?

B-Side's, "Vacant City", sorts out this hyper riff with off kilter chords, not quite fitting together being more of a jam funk sort of a groove with the bassline separated, riding it's own rails. Bursts from distortion electric, or out of tune bashes, they're wiling to go to this ugly place because when they come back for the chorus it fits together perfectly. They're one of those inspiring bands that makes you want to pick up that dusty guitar again (until you start playing a few chords). Dig delay and echo on his vocals here, the words trailing off into this epic bouncing ping pong ball avalanche.
"Can't Say No" starts with a creaky scrape down the strings and an unconscious head shaking bassline starts, pretty classic in that it's just great songwriting, minimal, pounding drive. Blowing out the chorus, in between a pummeling march beat where everything drops out for the great distortion sound of just the guitar. A tom march section clears things out for a brief rest before the panic starts again. They're just accomplishing amazing noises with the eletric here, Daniel Christiansen knows what brief bursts of together chords and melody to something exactly the opposite of what should work. That's a delicate balance of tight rehearsal and skill all the way to complete reckless experiments. Fake end to this and it all crashes back on itself.

There's a great story behind every single and it's what ultimately makes you wnt to care about this band, and reading on this insert how much Paul and the local scene there cared about these guys makes you want to also. Bottom Line, this is a fantastic monument to a band that Paul obviously loved greatly, I can't think of anything better than a tribute like this. These guys should count themselves lucky to have people that seriously gave a shit. Fickle lady history doesn't ever give you second chances like this.

On white vinyl with beer can tab and insert with the final interview.

Get it from Mammoth Cave Recordings.

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