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Shmat's Reviews
For more reviews, please visit Palebear which is where all future Shmat reviews will appear (as of March 2006).

Morning Spy
Two Horses (CD EP)

A charming little EP from Morning Spy came my way recently. Entitled Two Horses, it mixes lazy summer folk/pop with a quirky style that's at times more in the vein of say Pavement than Kings of Convenience. But to be more precise, the music is more laid back than lazy or sloppy. The title track is a pop song condensed as a beautiful revolving sequence of tinkling piano chords with tasteful drums and guitar. The open-hearted, pleasant drawl of singer Jon Rooney resembles a cross between Dean Wareham of Luna and Sean Brooks from Minmae (a great band also from San Fran that we've recently gotten into here over at Shmat). I actually love that gentle electric guitar solo that closes out the track; and you know how much I usually dislike solos, so that's saying a lot here. Going back to the Luna reference, it certainly does remind me of something around the Bewitched era or so.

"Ask Us To Dance" slows things down quite a bit with a somewhat loose cannon of a synthesizer taking a turn among Rooney's funny twang. It sounds funny to say it, but this could be a slow dance song for the post Gen-X kids, the kind that I wish they would play at high schools around the nation instead of the drivel that haunts major radio. Damn, I'd dance to it for sure. "Angels In The Angles" changes things up with some distorted guitar firepower and vocals swimming in a sea of metallic atmospheric sheen. These guys are quite capable of losing the "folkpop-band" tag and entering that wonderful mid-fi realm of sound collages that bands like Sparklehorse and Mercury Rev are masters of. "Already Won" feels like a Mojave 3 song, but the biggest changeup here is the great vocals from Allison Goffman. I love this change of scenery; when a band is able to switch male and female vocals with such ease like that, it just increases the staying power of the music in my CD player. It's like getting two bands in one. "Red Hot Hearts", while probably my least favorite on the EP, still ends up winning me over with it's combination of strutting distorted bass chords and Butterglory-like song structure. To say that the last track, the lengthily titled, 8.5 minute long "The Demise of an African Businessman" sounds a little like Yo La Tengo is probably doing a great disservice to the creative juices that the band has oodles of, but that is the first thing that came to mind. Low, velvety toms and bass guitar bounce in and around heavily processed guitar feedback and organ, creating a penchant and somber sort of mood.

This disc is quite simply one of the better EPs I've heard so far this year. And I count myself lucky because I've secured my copy, which is one of a limited edition of 50. That's right, only 50. Make haste. To Keep Recordings you go...

- review by RABBIT (6.29.04)        

Keep Recordings
PO Box 18972
Tucson, AZ 85731

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