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.