Review Summary: Though it contains some questionable aesthetic choices, Analog Weekend is a fucking blast. Their / They're / There provide us with a 13-or-so minute burst of energy, dynamic music, and most of all, fun.
Let's face it, super groups rarely work. Do I even need to point out the reasons why Audioslave's music of boring, repetitive riffs fell flat on it's face? Or why Billy Corgan's ego dragged Zwen into the depths of average, tired guitar work? Sure, the idea is sound: put a bunch of fantastic musicians from great bands together and have them make music together. Awesome! Platinum! Egotism! However, the combined genius rarely seems to play out into anything worth listening to.
But sometimes it does. As bands like The Velvet Revolver or Perfect Circle prove, sometimes the inflated egos of a few rock stars CAN turn out not only plate-able, but really, really good. And as Their / They're / There proved on their first self-titled EP, the emo genre can churn out a few fantastic groups of stars as well.
Their / They're / There is comprised of Evan Weiss (Into It. Over It), Mike Kinsella (American Football, Cap'n Jazz, Owen), and Matthew Frank (Loose Lips Sink Ships). The hype surrounding their first EP was huge, and for good reason. A kingpin of twinkly emo, a guy who made a (often times fantastic) song a week for a year, and a guitarist behind one of the most underrated instrumental rock bands around today, all wrapped together under a grammatically conscious name. And all throughout their first release, they never let you forget just who you were listening to - 3 musicians on the top of their game.
Analog Weekend is only three songs, as opposed to the six song debut, but packs so much more into the confined space it's given. The EP opens with "Curtain Call", a hectic and fast paced opener with Weiss' voice buried beneath a layer of distortion. It's a style he's experimented with before, one that's prevalent on his 52 Songs album, but here feels better produced and put together. It's obvious this song wasn't recorded in a week, with bits of somehow still twinkly guitars under all the feedback and distortion. However, the song ends with a minute or so feedback with an almost noise rock feel, which provides an awkward transitional piece into the next track.
"New Blood" is the second song on the EP, and stands out distinctly as a song a band of these three WOULD record. It's dynamic guitar lead, pressing drum beat, and flexing vocals work harmoniously together to create this singable and instantly catchy track. One again, however, the song ends with an ambient and noise rock-y closing. Though it works much better here, flowing nicely into the final track, it still feels out of place on an album like this.
The final track, "Travelers Insurance", comes immediately with the best guitar sound on the EP. Algernon Cadwallader comes to mind here, ironically echoing a band once accused of mimicking Kinsella's early sounds. At times danceable, with the tambourine making a brief appearance, constantly chantable, and always pushing forward with a dynamic tempo and ever evolving sound make this closer not only the best on EP but the best this band has yet to record. Again, the strange ambient ending makes an appearance. Though it's obvious by now the band made a stylistic choice in regards to the noise endings, aside from the transition between the 2nd and 3rd tracks, it feels out of place and mostly unneeded. It is likely they were trying to pad the short running time, but the EP would have been just as strong without these oddities.
Overall, Analog Weekend triumphs over their self-titled as a much more dynamic, original, and overall better release. Never sounding boring or repetitive, always pushing forward and never meandering, this EP is a short burst of a ton of energy and fun. Their / They're / There prove once again that supergroups don't always have to be tired, dull, and repetitive.
If you found their self-titled boring or too strung out, definitely give this a listen. If, somehow, you are put off by this wonderful little EP, it's short enough to be over before it ever gets painful.
As if that's even possible.