For a band with a relatively long name, Retribution Gospel Choir play short songs. So short in fact, that this EP clocks in at under 12 minutes.

For fans of Low who have picked RGC up due to the fact two of its members also play in this band, any questions over whether the music will be similar are banished within seconds, when the drums kick in on ‘Feel it Superior’. Here we have something akin to Doves’ ‘Pounding’ with a more summery sound. “I may be losing the race, but I’m winning the battle,’ sings Alan Sparhawk, hinting at the positivity that courses through the EP.

The pace slows on ‘The Stone (Revolution)’. This is radio-friendly rock by numbers, and feels like it should be buried on the second half of a longer record, but ‘Maharisha’ continues the upbeat theme. It’s as if Sparhawk really has been a fun guy all these years, and is finally letting us know. There’s a cowbell on it for God’s sake.

The final track, ‘I’m a Man’ puzzles as much as it stands out. At under two-minutes it takes 15 seconds for the drums to kick in, shortening it further, which is frustrating because when it gets going, it sounds like Super Furry Animals having a freakout. There’s a lot of drum thrashing squeezed in, a heavily distorted rock riff, and Sparhawk singing about why he ought to do manly things (because he is a man, apparently) with a confidence that seems to be lacking elsewhere.

Ultimately, this four-track EP feels like the band are giving out a sample of what they can do, rather than constructing a linked musical sequence. Lyrically, it’s less intelligent than Low; musically, it’s rock-by-numbers for the most part, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing: if you hear it once, you’ll want to hear again. And why not, it won’t take up much of your day.

Released March 26 2012 through Sup Pop

Posted by Kevin Scott

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