Great Buildings only released one album, their debut, Apart from the Crowd, in 1981, but they did wind up recording a second album toward the end of that year, an LP that featured the slightly expanded band with keyboardist Mickey Mariano. This album, called Extra Epic Everything, lay unreleased for almost three decades before Wounded Bird finally released it in 2010, fulfilling the wishes of a small, dedicated legion of power poppers who loved Apart from the Crowd along with Danny Wilde and Philip Solem’s subsequent band the Rembrandts. Listening to Extra Epic Everything years later, it’s clear why this record developed something of a cult following, being bootlegged in various forms over the years, and why it wasn’t released at the time. In its favor, the album often crackles with coiled energy, with its best moments snapping with ‘60s guitar hooks and glassy new wave synths. Counting against it is how it’s clear that the album was made knowing that it was a last-ditch effort for the band to make it, so there are times where it’s clear that the band’s eye was on a radio playlist, whether it’s pushing the synths and rhythms a little too hard (“Your Eyes” winds up in a nowhereland between AOR and new wave), dabbling in drippy ballads, or covering “Cherry Cherry.” All these little detours -- which are never bad, just misdirected -- paradoxically wind up diluting Extra Epic Everything enough to not be especially sellable by 1981-1982 standards, but the melodic strengths of the best material do endure, which is why it’s certainly worth hearing after all these years later…and hearing more than once, too.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine