EE – Ramadan (CD)

Threading through their music with a dreamy soundscape of guitars, EE creates an introspective style of indie rock that really makes one think. This album, originally released in 2000, has been clamored for since the second that the original run on Curry Records sold out. The plodding nature of the songs on Ramadan, exemplified by the title track, creates this sixties-style of California flavoring felt throughout the entire disc. Opening “Battery Davis” with a quivering cello, Tobin is placed in a different situation vocally – using coming in as a higher accompaniment to the drums or guitar of the track, eir is actually a lower note to the cello. This gives Tobin a more throaty, more bass note to eir’s voice, and Esther’s cello doubles Tobin’s voice during the chorus, in that it has a very vocal quality. Distortion comes in heavily to the very funk-influenced “Wrong Song” – while the effect of the distortion on Tobin’s voice is offsetting, the different time signatures really add something to the track.

Bareness shines through at points with the vocals on “Retrace”, slightly detracting the lushness present on the track – the guitars and drums really go into cyclical mode during the track, and there is a sound that echoes a dolphin’s cry (think Guns n Roses’ “Estranged”). “Ramadan” may just be stronger than “For 100 We Try Harder”, in that the rollercoaster that was present in “For 100” is extended to the nth degree on “Ramadan”. The high of this disc really comes at “One Less Year”, where each constituent element of the band comes together to create a true epic, whether it be screeching guitars or the silky smooth voice of Tobin.

Overall, the music on “Ramadan” may be 4 years old, but still shines with the brilliance of a newly-minted penny. To spin the CD another way, “Ramadan” ends with the extra-ordinarily upbeat “Brace”. “Brace” gains considerably with a very compelling walking bass line, and guitars that actually chirp with energy. All in all, the journey that EE has us go on during “Ramadan” has a different destination with each track. The combination of elements within the band in different iterations of the guitar, bass, accordion, drums, and cello are virtually limitless, and as such, make “Ramadan” a disc that is eternal, not marred by its age in the slightest. EE has shown me, time and time again, that they are capable of making an album that can play on pop sensibilities without watering down the spirit of the band.

Rating: 7.7/10

Top Tracks: Battery Davis, One Less Year

EE – Ramadan / 2003 Asian Man Records / 10 Tracks / http// / / Reviewed 13 March 2004

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