Album: No Style EP
Artist: King Biscuit Time
Reason Featured: #11 Album for Pitchfork’s Top Twenty Albums of 2000
My Favorite Songs: I Walk the Earth, I Love You, Time to Get Up
Their Grades: Pitchfork (7.2/10)
My Grade: 85%
The Beta Band’s been on my must-hear list for a really long time but if this spin-off solo project is any indication, they probably deserve all the acclaim they get. Upon researching Steve Mason (frontman of both aforementioned projects), it surprised me he’s something of a depressive. The music on this EP is triumphant and quirky, pointing toward someone with a starry-eyed lease on life.
“I Walk the Earth” hit me right in the gut for mashing up Peter Gabriel/Paul Simon/Sting’s best moments of secular spirituality with Beck-style slacker production. It’s an anthem for early mornings, as old-fashioned inspiring as it is lazy, the perfect way to get yourself out of bed. Songs like “I Love You” and “Time to Get Up” prefigure the style of lethargic folk which’d become more popular as the aughts went on (Sea Change, Oh, Inverted World, Jose Gonzalez’s first couple albums, etc.). Plus, the former’s chorus is as basically pretty as any of Noel Gallagher’s self-sung melodies.
The only problem on this EP is a common one: the conventional songs are all beautiful but the experimental moments seem like they’re reaching beyond themselves when they don’t even have to. If you’re going to release an EP, you don’t need any filler. Luckily, none of the less impacting songs on here are just plain bad and most are actually pretty alright. Mason’s echoing voice is enough to carry just about anything and even the instrumental tracks (“Untitled” and “Niggling Discrepancy”) are interesting enough. Closing out with the accessible Yes sounding “Eye O’ The Dug,” (I can’t be the only one thinking of “I’ve Seen All Good People” when I listen to this) King Biscuit Time’s first EP is a great way to spend half an hour.