The first thing that strikes you about Greatest Hits’ new EP is that these songs are mature. They’re self-aware. You get the distinct impression that no-one has tried too hard to write them.
This is a personal opinion, but I enjoy an Indie Rock outfit that isn’t afraid to pay respect to the prog rock and psychedelia of the late 60s and early 70s that gave it life.
On this EP you will hear Procol Harum, The Zombies, and even The Beatles. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a psychedelic rock record. Greatest Hits have achieved a far greater sense of structure and purpose. In fact, elements of funk, soul and even dreamy pop all result in a musically diverse six songs.
A tune like “Lemon Joe” takes the trippy sentimentalities of meandering psychedelia, tones down the drama and adds the right amount of pop. In short, it’s a soulful bop.
It’s not hard to see why “Trying” was chosen as a single. It’s a standout among the six tracks. It wanders from Prog Rock to Funk, but what brings it back are the soft falsetto vocals. And then, in crescendo, it leans right into the dramatic, big-synth, operatic feel of a psych-rock song. It almost sounds like the love child of Brian Wilson during Pet Sounds and the unmistakable grooves of Sly Stone.
Crisp, clean electric guitar is heavily underrated as a tool for creating emotive music and there is no shortage of it on this EP. Yet, fuzzy rhythm guitar certainly finds its place, at times with the kind of mood that Hendrix would be proud of. There’s also a welcome prominence of punchy bass lines. What probably identifies it most clearly as an Indie Rock record is the slightly muted drum effect on tracks like “Growler, a little bit of everything”.
For all the hallmarks of decades gone by that it proudly displays, the songwriting is still fresh and unpretentious. It’s not trying to be something it isn’t, which is a theme reinforced by the lyricism. A lyrically simple album, there’s still plenty of food for thought.
In this record, you’re not getting something overly experimental, but you’re also not getting another cookie-cutter nostalgia act. What you’re getting is a bonafide rock group that knows where it came from, but also knows who it is. Really, in the end, it’s just bloody good music. It could comfortably soundtrack a few beers on the deck in the summertime, but it deserves more. It deserves to be appreciated over a glass of expensive cabernet sauvignon.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Greatest Hits EP is out Friday, September 25th. For more details head to their official website.