Reviews:: Early Day Miners Offshore

Every record needs a time and place, especially when the record is the product of a prog-rockish instrumental indie collective. For me, bands like Explosions in the Sky have moments of brilliance before either landing decidedly in the self-indulgent camp, or making the paddle across the lake at Camp Go-Nowhere where all the sorority girls go in the summer.

For some reason, upon first listen, the new Early Day Miners often ventured into the latter realm. Offshore itself is very ambitious, relying on a six song structure that flows effortlessly making the record seem like a blended 35 minutes song. The songs were crafted by expanding on the track of the same name from Let Us Garlands Bring.

However, in this past week the songs started to make more sense. Not surprisingly, my take on the record corresponds to what is going on in New Orleans so the songs seem more relevant. It’s been a year since the disaster and as I’ve been reading Anderson Cooper’s horrifying first hand accounts of the damage, along with seeing countless images flash across the screen, this record seems much more significant.

The opening track, Land of the Pale Saints, is a nine minute guitar fuzzed journey that seems to mimic the anger of the people trapped in the situation. Wondering why no one is helping… wondering why more is not being done. Where is the money they were promised? Why can Bush make it down to shake hands in church, but not to help the city in the time of need? Much as I picture the situation unfolding in New Orleans, this anger turns to hopelessness when the people realize that the government has let them down.

Without looking at the CD, the seamless transition from the opening track into the hauntingly beautiful, but utterly melancholic track Deserter. The almost dub like horns add a sense of desperation to the song, while the marching drums and Daniel Burton’s lyrics deliver although hushed, bring a large . It’s weird, as only certain lines stand out, while other blend in. This type of listen let’s you take what you want from the songs. Some people might infer that this mean these lyrics aren’t well thought out. I prefer to think of the lyrics as just another important part of the complete song. Do you analyze every note or to you attached to the parts that catch your ear? The people underwaterthe city you call home.

The standout track on the album is the heart wrenching Return of the Native. Amy Webber’s vocals are paired with a slide guitar and some atmospheric layers to forge not only the first diversion of the record, but also to create a crazy psychedelic Americana vibe. I’m losing you to your desires in hotel rooms with ocean views. A family in peril broke and destroyed within.

The album’s closer is the song that cemented my feelings on the record. A powerful emotion insturmental that seems to sum up the confusion perfectly. The album focuses on the pain of rebuilding, both your home and your heart. Right now, that message seems increasingly important.

MP3:: Return to the Native

Not surprisingly, the reviews on this record are up and down::
Ashcan Rantings
I Rock Cleveland
Tiny Mix Tapes

@ 11:55 AM, Anonymous Mts kicked the following game:

Nice review...Offshore is indeed a difficult listen that takes a few times to actually get. I wish more writers actually took the time to listen to something repeatedly before writing a word and posting. Kudos to you.


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