Some bands cast a spell. Lacing pulsing instruments with siren vocals that creep around your spine and refuse to let go, these chosen folks don't so much craft songs as cast incantations. So it is with Austin's Silver Scooter.
This smattering of tunes comes in a little slim, offering only four cuts -- three originals and one cover. However, as with the band's two full-length releases, each track is so delightful and finely tuned that the brevity hardly matters. Though only a few years old, Silver Scooter found its groove early on. Tracks on the band's earlier releases, Orleans Parish and The Other Palm Springs, demonstrated a comfortable rhythm in which each instrument fit perfectly. Reminiscent of the Feelies at times, their sound typically layers simple guitar over some of the more irresistible bass lines ever to find a home in a pop song. Their live shows only reinforce this impression, since these guys have an incredible knack for delivering contagious and finely polished licks that sound more studio-honed than barked out at a bar.
On this Goodbye EP, however, the distinctive bass hides in the shadows. The melancholy lyrics still shine and the minimal guitar lines continue to glimmer as brightly as they did on the previous releases, but it's almost as if the troop has deliberately muffled its already subtle style. Perhaps the best example of this repression is "Run", the lone cover and the final cut on the disc. So true is it to the song's originator, New Order, that it's nearly indistinguishable from the original. I had to check the CD, in fact, to make sure my smart-ass wife hadn't pulled a prank on me. Had Silver Scooter been a bit more playful and a tad less reverent to the original, they may have sculpted a great song instead of just a good one.
Yet, most bands should be so lucky as to produce what's merely a good song for Silver Scooter. I tell you, these Texas boys know damn well who they are and what they do well. Goodbye is a fine release if only for one reason: it puts a smile on my face today and whets my appetite for what these guys are working on for tomorrow. I can't wait for that third full-length.