Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Erin Passmore: "Downtown" (EP Review)

As an integral part of Regina collective Rah Rah, Erin Passmore provides tender, melodic vocals for their brand of delightful indie pop.  On February 28th Passmore steps out on her own with her debut solo EP Downtown.

Joining her at various stages of this journey are members of Wintersleep, Young Galaxy, and Patrick Watson's backing band.

This is definitely a different Passmore than we've heard with Rah Rah.  The EP's songs are more introspective and personal, and nearly devoid of the group's trademark hooks.

The overarching feel of the record is moody.  The album opens with the deliberate mature pop balladry of "Into The Woods".  "Monster" is a strong mix of organic and ethereal sounds, while "Rock The Boat" swells into a near-hymnal with inspirational backing vocals.

The title track is an anomaly.  It is an all-out rock number stranded among the tendrils of more creeping songs.

It's the more intimate songs that are the letdown on Downtown.  The closer "Captain" is minimalist in arrangement and glacial in tempo.  Passmore's voice on "Married" seems absolutely lost on a seemingly aimless track.  "Sad Song" and "Fall" are forgotten almost as soon as they end.

The most striking thing may be Passmore's voice.  With Rah Rah she excels at delivering lovely melodies and spot-on harmonies with an endearing innocence.  While that is still there on Downtown, there is also a forcefulness that went previously unexplored.

Best tracks: "Rock The Boat", "Downtown"

Track listing for Downtown:
  • Into The Woods
  • Downtown
  • Married
  • Rock The Boat
  • Monster
  • Fall
  • Sad Song
  • Captain

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