Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Touch the Sky EP - Radical Face

Touch the Sky EP

Radical Face
Morr Music Records.

SCQ Rating: 74%

As a bridge between 2007’s Ghost and the upcoming Family Tree series, Touch the Sky tours the EP format’s rules of engagement rather unabashedly. When viewed as a mere stop-gap release, it covers key bases with reworked material from the debut and misfit tracks that won’t score into the sequencing of the upcoming records. As recycled as some of these tracks may sound on paper, Radical Face (aka Ben Cooper) has yet to treat his oeuvre carelessly and Touch the Sky EP is another considered addition to his burgeoning life-narrative.

Doubling as an extended single for the track ‘Welcome Home’, the EP opens on familiar ground before Cooper presents alternate nods to the past that will certainly woo fans of the wonderful Ghost. An acoustic retelling of ‘Glory’ gives up the original’s epic bombast without losing its punch-to-the-gut emotional power and ‘Doorways’, an instrumental B-side from the Patients project, appears re-imagined with vocals and a stunning chorus. It’s the ideal "doorway" (sorry, had to...) to walk out of Ghost and into the unknown future, foreshadowed promisingly with new tracks ‘A Little Hell’ and ‘The Deserter’s Song’. Epitomizing the EP’s focus on childhood, the lyrics over ‘A Little Hell’ hide its knack as a credible establishing shot, what with its harvest crows and scarce piano. When ‘The Deserter’s Song’ rises from distant thunder to an urgent crown of percussion, keys and layered vocals, that autumnal impression only gets stronger, its beauty rooted in something damned or sinister.

For better reasons than being the only new composition that approaches the five-minute mark, ‘A Deserter’s Song’ is a worthy centerpiece for this EP because it vividly merges the small-town palette of Ghost with a sound both foreign and exciting. In an EP preoccupied with youth, it’s also the coming-of-age track we thought Cooper had already perfected. With a trilogy of Radical Face albums on the horizon, Touch the Sky EP is an enjoyable listen, but hardly a mandatory one. Still, I can't think of a single Radical Face / Electric President fan who'll want to miss this...

No comments: