Wednesday, July 7, 2010

EP Review: Smog – ‘Neath the Puke Tree

Smog released this EP in 2000, consisting of a couple of new songs and some re-recorded ones. The country-tinged I Was A Stranger, originally on the excellent Red Apple Falls album, is revisited here in a slightly more relaxed version, and with Bill Callahan’s vocals sounding more like a late 60s vintage Leonard Cohen, ie deep and vulnerable. Your Sweet Entrance is more familiar territory for Smog, as in it’s terribly sparse and not particularly appealing on the surface, yet it worms its way into your head with a nicely off-kilter guitar riff.

Jar of Sand is distinguished by what sounds like an actual jar of sand swishing back and forth in the background underneath another sparse track, Bill Callahan singing about a “tidepool just deep enough to drown in”. The Leonard Cohen voice is back for the somewhat dark Orion Obscured by Stars, while final track Coacheecayoo is a little brighter, Callahan singing stuff and nonsense over a loping finger picking pattern.

This one is tricky enough to find, probably for Callahan-obsessives only (interesting notion: being obsessive about an obsessive).