steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion


"Versions" EP


Genre: experimental rock

Viljandi, Estonia

December 2009

Consisting largely of reworked tracks from the band's past two albums, the Versions EP is a titillating compromise as far as between-album efforts go. These freeform art-rockers have certainly captured the heart of many a music blogger since the release of Verbs, and to the uninitiated, these seven tracks will smoothly justify all the hoopla. Still, the fact remains that this release offers very little that is fundamentally new -- however, opener "Ida Walked Away" has not been previously released, and the reinvented renditions of past songs are impressively distinct from their original incarnations.

Let's begin with the new track, as it is perhaps the most sensational aspect of this release. In "Ida Walked Away," the listener gets the band in typical form - trebly guitar and percussive clatter frame Luke Wyland's trademark, swooping vocals, resulting in a thoroughly exciting wash of melodic crescendos. It's a grand and refreshing tidbit of newness from the band.

The rest of the EP explores that same tribal, campfire ambiance that endeared us all towards Au in the first place. It's nice to hear familiar melodies done up in new attire, particularly the classical-cum-post-rock genius of "All Myself," which is somehow even prettier than it was on Verbs. And then there's the unmistakable clatter of "Are Animals," here busier than before, and triumphant single "RR vs. D" which is more jovial than ever. Taking in Au is largely about appreciating the glory of sound, and this bustling work of unlikely melody and expert percussion accomplishes that goal aptly. Versions is no substitute for a new album, but it will keep seats warm until the next instalment rolls out.

au's myspace

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 7 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2009]