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The Life And Times | The Flat End of the Earth (54º40' or Fight!)
When De Soto records decided to shut up shop, it was sad that a number of the label's bands decided to call it quits also. The most obvious casualties were Burning Airlines and The Dismemberment Plan, but one band criminally overlooked by the masses was Shiner. The Kansas City outfit called it a day after their excellent 'The Egg' LP, perhaps thinking to themselves that they'd reached a pinnacle that couldn't be topped. Perhaps nothing as it happens, as Shiner main man Allen Epley is back, and with his new band's debut he's gone and done the impossible ?? cram an album's worth of emotional intensity and sonic technicality into a twenty-three minute, six-track EP. Remarkable doesn't even come close ?? this is song writing of the highest calibre concentrated to a potency that's almost unbearably good. Be it the soaring chorus of High Scores, the blistering drum onslaught of Movies and Books, or the beyond critical-dissection brilliance of the closing title track, so awash with delicate guitar and cello you'd gladly drown in its inexplicable excellence, you'll find a friend for life amongst these six gems. Go buy.

Mike Diver
CWAS #13 - Autumn 2003