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Early Day Miners | All Harm Ends Here (Secretly Canadian)
In the last issue of CWAS Steve Albini bemoaned the fact that, by a third LP, many bands are often repeating themselves; diluting and soiling their sound. I'm happy to report this isn't case with the Early Day Miners. This third offering from the Bloomington, Indiana band is a warm and intoxicating listen.

It may not be a great leap forward stylistically, but the addition of a new rhythm section (Johnathan Richardson on bass and Matt Griffin on drums) seems to have tightened up their sound and further refined their song writing. Richly melodic and heavily textured, guitars crunch like footsteps on fresh snow and then dissolve like daylight at dusk. Melodies slowly evolve, the hushed vocals wrapping themselves around tales of disease, despair and heartache. It's a sound ripe with bruised melancholy and fragile hope. Intimate, yearning and widescreen.

Dan Burton's vocals echo those of Mark Kozelek and shades of American Music Club and Thin White Rope are buried within the songs. Townes distils The Cowboy Junkies' lonely ambience into something darker, where a circling Michael Timmins chord progression is married to drums from the saddest every homecoming parade, melodies flickering like ticker tape drowning in the rain. The instrumental Precious Blood recalls Talk Talk circa 'Laughing Stock', a wordless, obtuse and haunting guitar maelstrom, while closer The Purest Red builds from a simple single guitar figure through string washes and glistening chords before receding like the spring tide. Each element of the song is individually striped away, allowing the silence to breathe and the coda, a sighing vocal and gently decaying waves of feedback, is beautiful.

This is a rewarding and evocative listen from a band approaching the peak of its powers.

Tony Heywood
February-April 2005