This is pop music from the other side of the mirror: crazy, disjointed, familiar and all together wonderful. This is music that suspends time and makes you wish that the record was 10x as long. The sounds contained within are an odd mishmash of folk, abstraction, electronics, intimate vocals and non-music. Perhaps a better description is modern indie folk on peyote. This primordial audio soup in lesser hands would alienate the listener but Gowns is able to craft something that brings you in through familiarity. Eventually it all goes sideways but by the time this happens the hook has been set and you only want more. The real beauty is not in the “up front” sounds but in the sideways path the album takes. Within the noise and abstraction is something special and pure. The lack of rigidity and refusal of the norm expands the notions of what sound can accomplish and what it can be. Gowns expertly demonstrate that music is what you make of it --- that it isn’t just time signatures and an established chord progression. This approach is the very idea of experimental music and the DIY aesthetic.
One of the more amazing aspects of this record is that it was originally released in 2004 as a limited CDR. There is no sign of age or nostalgia --- it is current as anything being released today (in any genre). This re-release is on gorgeous one-sided white vinyl and the music greatly benefits from this analog medium. The warmth of the vinyl expands the intimacy even more.
I only have three complaints. Music of this type is exploratory in nature and at times it wanders down the wrong path or focuses a little too long on a particular idea or sound. However, this criticism is very personal and may not apply to all. It is just a matter of taste. Secondly the EP is just too short (less than 25 minutes) and begs to be expanded. My final and larger complaint is that this band is no more. The project ended in January of 2010 and I am now eagerly waiting to see what comes next for the individual members. 9/10 -- Daniel De Los Santos (14 April, 2010)