In the Audience – Natural Satellites EP
Record Label: ddojo Productions
Release Date: April 22, 2008
In the Audience, from Portland, Maine, is fronted by Jordan Stowell. Stowell and friends made a bunch of so called “melodramatic popular songs.” The group takes influence from artists like Anathallo, Feist, City and Colour, and Bob Dylan.
How is It?
It’s certainly not bad. It starts off kind of slow, with the 0:44 clunker that is the title track, featuring Japanese lyrics and an uncanny resemblance to “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton. The second track, “Up Like Polysics,” loses the Clapton thing the title track had going on, with the vocals taking the forefront. The vocals harmonize with the chords while Stowell sings “Look Up, Look Up/I’m in your skies” while an excellent percussion track follows. The track is, however, only 1:21 so it leaves a little to be desired.
The last three tracks are standard length and “Jayme” at 3:42 is my personal favorite. It reminds me a bit of Death Cab for Cutie but adds an overdriven guitar into the mix, while most of the other songs only feature acoustics. The electric guitar fits astonishingly well into the mix, and the result is quite catchy. “Awake,” the 3:05 fourth track, then proceeds. "Awake" features a bit of powerpop catchiness while maintaining some acoustic sincerity and similar percussion to that featured on “Up Like Polysics.”
The six minute, eighteen second instrumental “Part One” finishes off the EP, which starts off with two minutes of seemingly senseless buildup which is actually playing the same thing over and over again without adding anything to it. After that is a brief pause, something new starts, then it reverts back at around the three minute mark. At around 4:35 the song goes kind of bluesy which works a little bit. But you honestly can’t shake the feeling that part one was basically a Frankenstein of various song parts which were meant to have vocals and to be honest, that doesn’t really work unless you’re Edgar Winter.
Overall, the EP is pretty respectable, having its moments where it went off but, for the most part, remaining satisfactory. The tracks stay the same style of music but the change from Clapton chord arpeggiating to Death Cab for Cutie harmonies to something that incorporates many genres should be noted. However, the weak point is often the production, which unfortunately sets these clearly good songs back. I’d still be excited for their next effort – I just have to hope for some better production next time around.