Review Summary: An old EP to listen to by an underrated band.
The Autumns are, in my most humble opinion, a highly underrated band for how long they have been in the business. This EP is their debut release from back in 1997. Their early sound is certainly akin to bands such as The Smiths, and they pull it off very well with their open, ambient sound and Matt Kelly's (those familiar with The Sound of Animals Fighting, you have heard him on the DVD, or you were lucky enough to be there, as the opening A Cappella singer performing The Heretic) inviting vocal work.
Pale Trembles a Gale - The opening track of Suicide at Strell Park catches the listener in with a droning 1, 3, 4 progression in the bass as the guitar and vocals weave one at a time respectively with light melodies. Then out of no where, the music is thrust into more intensity, directed by Kelly's yearningly desperate vocals followed by full guitar chord strokes and the crash symbol thrown in. It drops back to the verse to build in the same manner back to, except they build upon the song slightly more with Kelly adding a gorgeously ranged melody, singing "How do you sleep? How do you sleep, tonight? How do you even breath?" giving us a taste of his falsetto abilities. They ride the song out on the guitar's soaring touches flowing through the music like liquid and some yelling from Kelly. I particularly like how many times in this song Kelly holds the 7th, not resolving into the root, in order to add to the feel of desperation.
Apple - Perfectly countering the despair of the first track, Apple opens with a fun up-beat feel from the guitar describes the mood of the song with its bouncing line. The other members follow right in after the guitar sets the tune. Kelly brings a fun melody for the verses as the guitar dances around, while the bass picks it all up with an ascending line, in order to convey the happy feel to the song. The chorus gives me a running-through-a-sunny-field feel as the parts fall into a more streaming feel than its dancing in the verses.
Rose Catcher - This track has a mystery/discovery feel to it, starting off with a building drum beat as well as non-keyed noise. The full band comes in with an ambiguous conjunction of parts, the bass pushing back and forth on the third and fourth, the guitar outlining the chords, and the vocals coming in with an almost out-of-place line. Kelly brings it to a consenting release with "Did you notice, did you notice the rose?" leading the band into a major chorus that gives the feeling of discovery from the mystery/ambiguousness of the verse. The guitar blasts out after the second chorus with a nice little solo that dissolving fluidly into the outro of the instruments.
Suicide at Strell Park - and finally the title track to close a beautiful EP. The slow, loving song of the CD. It begins with a gorgeously crafted melody in the guitar that will stay stuck in your mind, lingering much longer than the EP's too short of a length. Kelly carries the melody from the guitar as the two guitars pull upon each other up and down the picked chords, like the swaying of dancing lovers. Then the vocals ascend to the climax with blending full voice and falsetto and leaving with the closing words "how we steal through winter since you've gone away." The instruments then have a nice descent into falling away, almost like not noticing how you falling asleep, until fin.
...unless you let it loop back around! Which it does very nicely. On my first listen ever I thought it was simply another track, until I recognized it as the first track.
So there we have it! My first review, and of one of the most wonderful EPs that I own, is done. I am sure I did not do the best job at all, and I know there will be disagreement on the rating. As long as I know other people have listened to it, I am fine. The EP just has the perfect structure to me for a starting band. The distraught opening, a fun second, disorienting third, and a lovingly longing close.