Wednesday, 30 December 2009

EP Review - second hand marching band: grit and determination

As I mentioned last week, there's a new Second Hand Marching Band EP out. Since there's very little new around, and since you don't have much longer to get your mitts on a copy and since I've done nothing since Christmas and don't want to fall back into my lazy ways, here's a wee review of it.

The EP has four winter themed songs, and kicks off with Bonbon, a cheery wee upbeat number. Lots going on, as is to be expected, without sounding busy. Good start, it's the ever so slightly chaotic, raucous kind of fun I like. You can have a listen to that below.
From there, things take a shift in tone, with more gentle and melancholic sounding songs rounding out the EP.
Second song, title track Grit and Determination, manages to be incredibly sweet without being sugary. It's more sparse sounding - conjuring up images of leafless trees covered in snow, although that could be just because that's what I saw out my window earlier - gradually adding layers to reach a crescendo. Very charming, sweet and uplifting.
My Gift is Waiting makes good use of boy/girl duelling vocals and harmonies to build mood over a barely there backdrop of piano and horns.
Next Year brings in layers of instrumentals and vocals again for another song of love and new beginnings.

All in it's a great little EP, and at a mere three quid well worth getting your hands on a copy before New Year. It's also a nice reminder that there's more to the band than the novelty of cramming as many bodies as possible on a stage. When I've written about the Second Hand Marching Band before I tend to focus on that myself, and the mildly chaotic air that comes with them playing the more upbeat songs live. That's a bit unfair as there's really solid, well crafted songs in their repertoire, played by excellent musicians. I'll try to be more balanced next time they crop up in my live reviews.

The Second hand Marching Band play King Tut's on December 30th (which because I kept getting distracted writing this is now today, rather than tomorrow as planned) along with The Seventeenth Century and We're Only Afraid of NYC. It'll be really good, you should go.
If you can't, then you can catch them again on January 8th at The 13th Note for the launch of the We Sink Ships radio show on Radio Magnetic. That'll be good too.