After 14 sporadic years and only four EPs, The Mailman’s Children is still very much a work in progress, and the group will only go as far as Eric Labossiere is willing to take them. As the chief songwriter and pulse of the band, he needs to be careful tiptoeing the alt-rock tight rope as he leads the group into its anticipated LP. At its peak Labossiere could have The Mailman’s Children evoking comparisons to the Nine Inch Nails with his baritone vocals and the group’s balanced, melancholy instrumentals. At its worst this Canadian/American hybrid is the bastard child of the Goo Goo Dolls and Billy Idol.
And if Billy Idol fronted the Goo Goo Dolls their first song on their EP The Spiders We Eat might sound something like “Private Room,” a bazaar mix of pinch-harmonics and Counting Crows guitar twangs. The song borrows from so many different late ‘80s and ‘90s genres that it ends up haphazardly combining the least promising elements. It’s simply confusing. Labossiere falls astray in the song’s multiple climaxes and would be better off axing the stadium-anthem choruses completely.
One also has to question the addition of the acoustic “Ride In Your Mind” given that the original song already has an acoustic guitar in it. A five-song EP and two of the songs are nearly the same? Listeners might be in the right feeling slightly disappointed.
The Spiders We Eat is on point when Labossiere, Joe Couture, Joel Perreault and Eddie Vesely are at their most intimate. “Humility” with its driving bass line, subtle drum kicks and textured guitars is the logical jumping off point for the full length. The focus here is on the aggregate, and less on Labossiere shouting choruses. He’s more Trent Reznor instead of Dave Mathews, and Couture, Perrault and Vesely are a dynamic force with their respective bass, guitar and drum work.
Listeners anticipating the debut full-length will long for any semblance of the aforementioned “Humility” but given that the band has been spinning its wheels for the better part of 14 years one can only hope.
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