Friday, April 16, 2010

EP Review: Quiet Company, "Songs for Staying In"

 Songs for Staying In (****1/2)

After three releases, you begin to know a band. This EP marks the third outing from Quiet Company, indie rockers from Austin, TX, and you can tell they're working as hard as ever. It's full of catchy songs; it's romantic, it's celebratory, it's glorious.

In fact, it's hard to pick out individual parts to critique--everything blends together so smoothly, I feel like it would be missing the point to do so. So I'll just give a brief rundown of the songs, and point out some highlights:

"How Do You Do It?" may be the band's most fun song yet, from the repeating line "How do you do it, you're always on top?" to its cascading outro. "Things You Already Know" has an interesting muted effect on the verses, and includes perhaps the best use of a kazoo in an indie rock song yet. (Is that a Grammy category? Do they take nominations?)

"Hold My Head Above the Water" features whistles and strummed guitar, with a duet by vocalist Taylor Muse and his wife, and lovely echoing effects toward the end. However, I think the star of the album is "Jezebel," with its raw, emotive vocals punctuated by soft piano melodies, and then flourished by lovely guitar work.

"If You Want" is reminiscent of the band's earlier songs, especially the callback about a "nation of two." It's earnest and fun, with plenty of energy, and is a total celebration of marriage. "The Biblical Sense of the Word" also has a crashing, go-out-blazing ending that I've only seen The Shins pull off with as much skill. On the whole? Two thumbs way, way up; this is an album you'll want to put on repeat again and again.

Songs For Staying In is currently available at Quiet Company's web site. You can also listen to some of the tracks there, and see a new video about the album every Monday. Their CD release party is with The Rocketboys in Austin, TX on May 7th.

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