Early Day Miners
The Sonograph EP
s I have become increasingly pathetically addicted to a certain dusky strain of what has been termed slowcore, sadcore, dream pop or what have you, once the magic word Low (in this case, although Songs:, Ohia, Radar or Brothers would have also done) was invoked in reference to the Early Day Miners, I couldn’t help but want to hear The Sonograph EP.
Luckily for me, and my faith in this sort of music, it’s a solid effort, well structured for EP length and leaves me interested in whatever the group does next.
“Albatross” and “Perish Room” start the EP off strongly, especially the ravishing “Perish Room”; if everything here was that good I’d be in love, and if everything else was bad I’d still be kindly disposed towards the EP. The music here is warmer than you might expect, even for cryptic tales of a man for whom “angels ring in his head”. “Bedroom, Houston” is the only other vocal track here, and it’s of a similar quality, though both it and “Albatross” seem a bit lacking compared to the steady hum of “Perish Room”. They’re certainly lovely songs, but the Neil Young-ish harmonica and Black Heart Procession style vocals of “Albatross” almost seem like parody, and “Bedroom, Houston” is slightly too static for its own good.
The instrumental tracks don’t work quite as well; “Bijou” and “Mosiac II” are both softly plucked interludes that would have worked better at half of their four minute lengths.
The closer, “Misrach”, however, is an almost startling change of pace. It’s not far off from the rest of the EP, but given the interior stylistic continuity of the other five songs here, the difference seems larger. “Misrach” starts with three minutes of what sounds like backwards feedback. It then subsides into three more minutes of barely-there drones. It’s an interesting piece for the contrast it gives, and works well at the end of the EP, despite the fact that it comes directly after the slight “Mosiac II”.
It’s to EDM’s credit that they seem to have a good grasp on how to make an EP flow like an album and not treat it just as an expanded single or dumping ground for ideas. I haven’t heard their earlier albums, but if Early Day Miners can capitalize on the strengths shown on this EP, particularly “Perish Room” and “Misrach”, their next effort will be one to watch for.