theendisthebeginning - Tropics

Blending some Genesis-era Peter Gabriel style affectations with a kind of dreamy, but poignant drone, theendisthebeginning, headed by Clint Kaminska, Joseph Nichy, Robert Armando Flores, Ryan Hone, and Matt Kjorvestad, creates music that is both stadium minded and coffee-shop applicable. That's not to say this is like early Coldplay. Instead, theendisthebeginning merges the grungy '90s guitar fuzz of a Gen X "I don't give a shit" culture with the '70s and '80s electronica that was all about possibility and a future of sure technological advance that would force our humanity into stark contrast with our robotic overlords. With Tropics, the band's newest EP, there's are hints here and there that say the whole album could shift into a Filter/early-Radiohead/The Cure sort of guitar-laden sad-guy, philosopher rock, but as a whole the album resists even that contrived and convoluted kind of genre assignment.

In ways, theendisthebeginning is as dreamy as Pink Floyd and as earthbound as Blur. They have taken the best aspects of the '90s, stirred in a presumably-proprietary blend of herbs and spices, and created a sonic stew. The tracks comprising Tropics are sturdy, thick and dense with production and sound, but at the same time, they are spare, deep and constantly satisfying. There's not really any filler here, even as some songs aren't as strong as others. Instead, there are hushed, rattling drum and cymbal lines. There are delicate, ornate guitar accents. And on a track like "Blueswallow" there are distinct hints of TV on the Radio and always, always, by virtue of the vocals, there's a Peter Gabriel vibe. That is NEVER a bad thing.

You must, repeat MUST listen to the title track "Tropics." And then there are the equally, but more conventionally virtuous "Massive" and the sad, but sturdy "Blueswallow." "Weapons" is the most machine-gun-rocking, with a continuous, driving, pounding guitar backing and lush, simple riffs and fills. But the jaunty and bright "Concreep," in a different key than the other songs on the album, really shines through some thoroughly poetic lyrics and some delightful '90s-ish song structure. With this track, you feel a little bit of Steve Winwood mixed with Ben Folds and the complex instrumentation and jagged-aspects of some Wolf Parade.

Listen to the EP here, via theendisthebeginning's bandcamp page. Then, umm, drop the LESS than $4 on the 5 tracks. It's worth it and you're more than likely going to have all of these tracks stuck in your head in no time... especially "Tropics."

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