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While Talking EP

Ms. John Soda
While Talking EP
(Morr Music)

Like Lali Puna on their recent Left Handed EP, this new EP by Ms. John Soda finds them roughing up their sound a slight bit. Along with his brother, Micha Acher seems to be one of the hardest working musicians out there right now. In addition to contributing large amounts to this years excellent Observing Systems by the Tied And Tickled Trio, he's back (with help from Stephanie Böhm) with a new EP from his full-time group Ms. John Soda. Although the sound is a little less electronic, and a little more indie-rock, the same hooks shine through for the group.

The slightly louder sound makes itself immediately known on the first track "No. One," in which dirty jangling guitars are strummed out over warm electronics and live drumming. The synth/cello opening chorus parts sound somewhat like the group of old (as well as a quieter middle bridge section), but the group pours it on even more after the quiet moments. Overall, the effect isn't so much to completely turn off fans of their old work, but it will definitely give them a surprise. The guitars are back on the excellent "Sometimes Stop, Sometimes Go," a track that builds to a point where it sounds like it's going to rock out before curling back on itself and instead launching into a warm, reflective track of the likes the group does so well.

Arriving in the middle of the release is a 4-minute medley/remix of several tracks off their first disc by Lex artist Subtle, and despite the familiar melodies, serves as a new track for all intents and purposes. Probably the best song on the release, though, is also the longest. "If Someone Would Know" is all deserted streets and dusty roads, a slowly-progressing, haunting track that sounds like it could easily fit on the soundtrack of a David Lynch film. The closer track of "I Think It Could Work, Marylin," is probably the most pretentious thing the group has ever done (a spoken word conversation over scratchy, minimal instrumentation) and would come off as completely ridiculous at the hands of just about anyone else, but the soft vocals of Böhm somehow charm it just enough that it doesn't cross the line into complete wankery. In the end, if you're a fan of the group, you're not going to go wrong here. Although they're definitely at their best when being a little bit more subtle (the opening track simply feels like they're trying a bit too hard to be loud), this little release (which clocks in at almost a half-hour) is more great music from the duo.

Rating: 7.5