You know, CDs pile up on my desk, and to avoid them toppling over I have to file them away. Unfortunately, such an act helps me to forget to review those CDs. My most sincere apologies to Josh Henderson, who giving me this CD at Cornerstone for free, asked for a review since Under The Red had none. Tangzine (the rag I usually write for) already ran a review on the split EP, so that furthered my procrastination. Jason has been kind enough to let me fulfill my promise (he’s a swell guy, ain’t he?).
I like Canary. The Fugazi influence on “A Sound of Summer Running” blended quite well with the rock leanings the album boasted (I love “Anthem Of Me”). However, the overall product was uneven and sometimes lacked the intensity they have in concert. This split EP is a tremendous change for Canary. The production is cleaner, the songs are more concise, and the band is less reliant on its Fugazi influence. “The Girl’s Theme” was excerpted in “A Sound…,” but now appears in full here, and it is the only song akin to the first album.
By contrast from what little had been exposed, this version is fuller with echoed vocals and delayed guitar effects. “Radio: k/i/d/s” is the album’s gem. I know this song has made quite a buzz at the college radio station I work at (WUOG, Athens) and around Atlanta. Its Mediterranean guitar line reminds me of The Prayer Chain. Jamey Bozeman’s voice croons over the lush background and tribal drum beat.
“Make Up” is like steering a rocketship directly into the sun without reguarding consequence. It’s surreal for the moment and explodes as the vessel rams head-on into the ball of fire. The climax is glorious and somehow… you make it through just fine. “Diamonds are Forever” is a beautiful acoustic song with Jamey’s vocals processed through a series of echoes that bounce off cathedral walls. Canary’s new sound is engaging and begs to be developed.
Dreamy, ethereal layers comprise the indie-rock that Under The Red contributes to this split EP. The band has a hard edge, too, akin to the Smashing Pumpkins’ “Siamese Dream” era (and let’s face it, we all miss those days). I have a feeling that “Wrecking Ball” keeps some of its influences from Josh Henderson’s old band, Octane Blue, but focuses more on rocking than sounding loud.
Brent Finnegan’s vocals try too hard on “When The Monkey’s Gone” and tend to get out of tune, but Brent has since left the band and Josh seemed to cover the vocals well at Cornerstone. The same is true for “Searchlight In The Eastern Sky,” but the songwriting and the spacey guitar layers more than make up for it. However, the end of the song seems to pay homage to Roadside Monument’s “Car Vs. Semi: Semi Always Wins” with its climaxing chord progression.
Written by Lars Gotrich.