Monday, December 7, 2015

EP Corner: These Things Are Not That Fun

You won't hear a more perfect piece of misdirection this year than The Woods, the first track on These Things Are Not That Fun by West London four-piece Fresh. Singer/guitarist Kathryn Woods opens the EP by apologising for a couple of errors on the (unheard) preceding take:
"I fucked up one chord and I think I messed up a time, so more take. Okay. Sorry."
This snippet of studio chat implies a certain perfectionism, and the gently lovely acoustica of the song itself suggests that These Things... could be your new favourite record for lazy Sunday afternoons.

Both of these assumptions are utterly demolished the moment track two, Passing, arrives on the scene. Regular readers may remember that Fresh were the starting point for that hour I spent aimlessly clicking around Bandcamp a couple of weeks ago; Passing was the track I listened to that evening, at it's just as chaotic and breakneck and unpredictable as I remember. It's a heady mish-mash of all kinds of different sounds, although I'm personally reminded of my current favourites SPORTS and my long-time favourites Titus Andronicus.

Passing is over almost as soon as it starts, but the unpredictability continues as it cannonball-dives straight into the significantly more subdued On Edge. This, in turn, is followed by House Phone; this track is my personal favourite, because a) it contains what appears to be a reference to Brand New's gorgeous Soco Amaretto Lime...
"We're both only going to be eighteen for so long
Despite the misleading information of that pop-punk song"
...and b) because it contains a slow build - slow by this EP's standards, at least - that Deja Entendu itself would be proud to accommodate.

The acoustic guitar plays an interesting role over the course of These Things Are Not That Fun. It's omnipresent in the aforementioned opening track (which kind of sounds like a quieter moment from an Allo Darlin' album), but once you've heard Passing and On Edge, you begin to suspect that the poor thing was whomped to pieces somewhere amid the chaos of those two tracks. But then it returns (albeit in a more fired-up, punky capacity) for tracks five and six, strumming along robustly as if to say, "Yeah, you didn't imagine that first song - I'm part of this thing too, fuckers."

This is a neat trick, as it turns an EP that should have been little more than a fun, splattered mess into some sort of cohesive whole. There's a wide, choppy variety of stuff happening here, but little touches like this and the segue between Passing and On Edge make These Things... sound less like a few songs thrown haphazardly together and more like a complete (if small) album. I'd heartily recommend that you buy it here while you wait for them to record a full-length one.

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