"Down By The Racetrack" is a highly decent GBV EP: better than the recent "Donut For a Snowman" but it ain't "Static Airplane Jive" or "Sunfish Holy Breakfast" (but really, what is these days?). Like so much of their music, the tracks on this album flow and stick together like glue, morphing from mournful-pop to post-garage to half-sloshed saloon piano ditties often in the course of the same minute. The opening number "It Travels Faster Through Thin Hair" features the band's beloved permanent resident genius frontman Bob Pollard and bassist Greg Demos waxing tender and acoustic over an intimate lo-fi tape. Next on "Pictures of The Man" Pollard, with full classic lineup in tow, pulls out a Cheap Trick-inspired proggy hand-clap number that could easily fit right in on "Class Clown Spots a UFO". "Amanda Gray" continues Tobin Sprout's current winning record of writing gorgeously sweet mini-pop epics: this one perhaps most impressive for making an indelible impression in just 43 seconds (what other band can do that these days? really?) You can almost taste the bad tequila and feel Pollard's hangover on the busted-piano driven "Standing in a Puddle of Flesh" which even seems to be written about a drunk stumbling around a cluttered room, trying to find a couch to waste. "Copy Zero" is in my opinion, the highlight. Its a vintage Sprout/Pollard song that dials back to some of the best of Airport 5, with its perfect pop precision and collaborative synergy: the sort of sure-fire formula track even last November's great "Bears for Lunch" LP could have used a wee bit more of. The EP ends appropriately strange but endearingly memorable with the Sprout-sung title track that at first seems weird with the guitarist/co-frontman's patented golden-nasaled pitched voice tacked against shredder Mitch Mitchell's wall of distorted garage rock (a sound usually reserved for Pollard's faux-Brit howl), but the little experiment works beautifully, just like so many of their experiments do. Keep on keeping on boys. Even if at this pace, not everyone else can quite keep up!
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