For many artists the split EP (or EP’s in general) are a thing of the past. Thankfully they’re still a factor in the underground music scene, helping promote new bands and introduce people to acts they otherwise might have passed by. I mean, Without Alkaline Trio’s iconic split with Hot Water Music, the sultry tones of Chuck Ragan and Chris Wollard might have eluded me for even longer (cheers, Ian). That’s exactly what’s happened here.
I was introduced to El Morgan back in May when she toured with Austin Lucas and I, along with many others in that pub cellar, immediately became a fan. When I found out she was putting out some new material, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. The fact that this was a collaborative effort was icing on the cake. Unlike the Trio, my love of El’s music had given me three new artists to listen to. I’d heard of everyone included on this record before, but had never really checked them out. As per usual, I find out I should’ve been listening to these guys a long time ago and feel like a fool.
This type of collaborative effort is something I’m not familiar with. Maybe I’ll sound like even more of a fool, but this combination seems rather original. Four artists – two singer/songwriters and two bands – paired up to collaborate on a record. It intrigued me to say the least, especially considering I was a fan of the El/Arteries tracks in their original form. The outcome is great.
El’s tracks have a harder edge than the acoustic originals. The main vocal is delivered with a ferocity I’m not used to hearing from her, and it took me a few listens to properly appreciate them. The addition of The Arteries turns simple, melodious, acoustic songs into fast paced punk anthems. ‘Ballroom’ is probably my favorite of El’s tracks, and a good bit slower than ‘Blah, Blah, Blah’, so I was really interested in how this would turn out. I was really impressed – as I was with all four tracks – but the way this track slowly builds before revealing it’s true punk colours made it for me. I still have a soft spot for the originals though.
Kelly’s songs are one’s I’m less familiar with and I think that made them an easier listen. I wasn’t constantly thinking about another version, like I was with the other two. The former NoComply singer really shows her range here. ‘Bridges Over Broken Hearts’ is my favorite of the four tracks. I still haven’t got it’s sing along hook out of my head. ‘The Great Fall Down’ is just as good. Both tracks have got a great 90’s punk feel to them. They’re fun, sing-a-long songs that’ll stick with you for a while. If you’re a punk fan and want something new and interesting to listen to, you won’t go wrong with this.
The EP is released on 7″ on October 11th. You can buy it at Specialist Subject Records and get the MP3s now.