EDJ - EDJ

by Rob Taylor Rating:6 Release Date:2014-08-05

Well-written adult lullabies, the kind which assuage the soul, but don’t open fields of inquiry, or open wounds that make you cry into your expensive gin; which are delicate, soothing and full of quirky observations of life. These can appeal to even the most repressed indie fans. Always better, though, to be described as limpid rather than limp. The tone has to stay above the sonic waves of dolphins sampled into Ibiza dayclub mixes - you know, the kind of faux-spiritual nourishment that can only serve to reinforce just how badly you need sleep.

I often turn to that old Chesnutt, Vic, Townes Van Zandt, or in more recent times, Phosphorescent for something comforting when in need of sombre nourishment or quiet reflection, but I’d imagine EDJ might equally serve that purpose. Former Fruit Bat, Eric Johnson’s facility for evoking LA sunshine might come from wasted time on Venice Beach, and he certainly nails the songwriting for the first half of the album, before the wheels come off at the halfway mark.

Before that, you have possibly one of the best EPs in tracks one to five, a refulgent set of beautifully crafted melodies. But then… Salt Licorice is entirely superfluous, what might happen if Chopin was reduced to intermission music at the local cinema.

In ‘West Country Girl’, EDJ sings: “She was staring at the middle distance and thinking about the day/ The only copy of the masterpiece has been burned up in a blaze/ She tried to write about how it went but every single last word was spent/ still drifting through a dream of when she was just a country girl. I think social psychologists call that stagnation, and this tale of mid-life self-doubt is basic fodder for the songwriter. Which is fine, but this is country and western samba-lite. Also, it’s infected with these awful innocuous handclaps.

‘Mostly Just Like Fantasies’ has a cute little melody which quickly grates. ‘For Joy’ is a lax cocktail bar dittie with insipid synths, and ‘Child in the West’ unfortunately wraps up the slump in form with a dull little number that reminded me of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Well, that is, if it wasn’t for the Ibiza chill-out of closer, ‘The Mountain on Fire’.

A five star EP with b-side melanoma.

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