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October 10, 2006

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It takes a while for Easter to get comfortable, to find its proper place. After a first listen its hooks come as elusive and the immediacy that was so evident in the previous Oxeneers or the Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home, seems to have been replaced by a dismissive flatness. First cut “Mescaline Eyes” adheres to the same mold of any of the best of Oxeneers’ songs, and the same could be said about any of the first six tracks, but a few tracks into the record it’s clear that TAAS’S latest is a more complex and moodier work. As such it takes more of the listener to fully experience. For starters this record works better as a whole; it flawlessly flows, but taken by pieces sounds lacking. Each track sort of represents a particular mood, which isolated lacks the setting and with it half its charm. The musicianship is once again top notch, with each string instrument beautifully arranging high and low pitch tones, while the somewhat deadpan vocals of Steve Snere remain ambiguous and expressive within their own confines. Let’s not forget the prominent space that the keyboards take in TAAS’S sound, in a live setting and in record they give the band certain dynamics that put these Seattle noise addicts in a class that’s all their own.

It is not to say that Easter cannot be appreciated track by track, but I want to propose the listener the opportunity to enjoy the full record at once; non-stop, without interruptions and if possible turned up to 11 and with headphones. To that, add a few spins before you’ve made up your mind, because it is clearly going to take more than a shallow listen to comprehend. Only after getting acquainted, Easter reveals its true colors; it is a devastating work of ambitious hardcore or whatever you feel like calling it. Think of the sub genre sat next to post hardcore, and project it ten blocks down the road. Five songs into Easter, the mood is lowered, and the band seems on a mission to take you along through a wide palette of emotions. Easter actually almost peaks with the acoustic “Lady North” which immediately recalls PINK FLOYD’S majestic mellow mood swings; once the song breaks in full-fledged mold only one thing is in evidence; Easter is no longer only the term for a Christian holiday.

Deaf Sparrow